Egyptian diplomat says ties with Iran "strategic
TEHRAN, Aug 8 (AFP) - Egypt's highest-ranking diplomat in Iran said
cooperation between the two nations was a "strategic necessity"
and praised the expansion of ties under Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.
"Cooperation between our two countries is a strategic necessity
that must go beyond mere words and be translated into concrete action
to establish peace and stability in the region," Mohammad Al-Refaieh,
head of Egypt's interests section in Tehran, told the official IRNA news
He noted Iran 's efforts to defuse tension between Syria and Turkey
and its cooperation with Saudi Arabia to boost oil prices earlier this
year as "examples of unity and solidarity among Islamic nations."
Refaieh shrugged off questions about the arrest of 13 Iranian Jews on
charges of spying for Israel, saying he agreed with Egyptian President
Hosni Mubarak that the matter was an internal one that concerns Tehran
"The best way to forge strong relations between our fraternal countries
is to respect the principle of non-interference in each other's internal
affairs," he said.
Mubarak said in July that Egypt was unwilling to resume full diplomatic
relations with Tehran, singling out the decision to name a Tehran street
after Khaled al-Islambuli, who masterminded the 1981 assassination of
Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
Sadat became the object of Islamic fundamentalist hatred after signing
the Camp David peace accords with Israel.
The two most populous countries in the Middle East are currently only
represented by interests sections in each other's capitals, but have signed
several bilateral cooperation accords, mainly in the health and pharmaceutical
Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi sent his Egyptian counterpart
Amr Mussa a letter last month calling for increased ties between the two
As well as congratulating Mussa on the anniversary of the 1952 overthrow
of the Egyptian monarchy, Kharazi expressed Iran 's desire to "start
a close cooperation with Egypt in all areas," a London- based Arabic