Iranian-born journalist Amir Taheri has published a series of articles on the historical relationship between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. The first article, titled “Iran and the Ikhwan: The ideological roots of a partnership”, begins:
May 31, 2014 One sizzling summer day in 2012, Tehran was abuzz with talk of an impending ‘historic moment.’ The venue was the brand-new Hall of Conferences, constructed to host the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement during which Egypt was scheduled to hand over leadership to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Cast as creators of the ‘historic moment’ were Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the newly elected Egyptian president, Mohamed Mursi. The two men were supposed to symbolize the triumph of radical Islam, in its different iterations, from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.
That Tehran was especially keen for the encounter was underlined by an orchestrated media campaign praising the visiting Egyptian leader in terms that would make professional panegyrists blush. More importantly, perhaps, the leadership in Tehran felt that it was time to claim profit from its political, propaganda and even financial investment in ensuring Mursi’s election.
Khamenei had led the way by speaking of the ‘Islamic Awakening’ in Egypt and the creation of a special secretariat, headed by one of his longest-serving advisers, Ali Akbar Velayati, to help Islamists win power in the Arab world. In a speech, Khamenei had even claimed that modern Islam had had only three ‘great thinkers of importance,’ one of whom was Sayyid Qutb, a theoretician of the Muslim Brotherhood whose candidate, Mursi, had just won the presidency of Egypt. (The other two great thinkers, according to Khamenei, were Ayatollah Khomeini and the Pakistani journalist-cum-cleric Abul Ala Maududi.)