CAIRO – Despite several goodwill gestures from Iran, Egypt appears adamant in its refusal to re-establish diplomatic relations – frozen for almost 30 years – with the Persian-speaking Islamic republic. According to opposition figures, Cairo’s insistence on keeping Iran at arm’s length comes largely as a result of US prompting.
“In line with US directives, Egypt continues to seize upon superficial reasons to justify its refusal to normalize relations with Tehran,” Hamdi Hassan, member of parliament from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement told Inter Press Service.
Predictions of looming Egypt-Iran rapprochement were dashed
with the appearance in July of an Iranian documentary film that portrayed late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat as a “traitor” for signing the 1979 Camp David peace agreement with Israel. The film, entitled Execution of a Pharaoh, praised Khaled al-Islambouli, who assassinated Sadat two years later, as “a martyr”.
The documentary met with an unusually strong reaction from Egyptian officialdom. Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul-Gheit rushed to condemn the film “in the strongest possible terms”. He said, “It is unfortunate that an Islamic society such as Iran would attack this great national leader [Sadat].”
Egypt has not had official relations with Iran since the latter immediately cut dip…