Egypt denies discussing normalization with Iran

Published Sunday, September 2, 2012

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi made no mention of resuming ties with Iran during a recent visit to Tehran, his spokesman Yassir Ali said on Sunday, denying statements by Iranian officials.

"The meeting between President Mohammed Mursi and his Iranian counterpart (Mahmoud) Ahmadinejad did not broach the subject of boosting the level of representation or of opening an embassy," said Ali, quoted by the state-owned daily Al-Ahram.

Mursi's attendance of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in Tehran was the first time an Egyptian head of state had set foot in Iran since the two countries broke off diplomatic ties in the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution there.

The two countries have since maintained interests sections in their respective capitals.

According to Ali, the two leaders agreed to hold "more dialogue to examine common affairs, including regional issues."

On Thursday, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian told Iran's Arabic-language broadcaster Al-Alam that during their meeting, Mursi and Ahmadinejad discussed the Syrian conflict and their severed diplomatic ties.

The Islamic republic had several times sought to normalize relations with Egypt since the overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Morsi hails from Egypt's powerful Muslim Brotherhood and says he is seeking broader relationships in the Middle East, including with Tehran. But he has so far reacted with caution to Iran's overtures.

Meanwhile Iran on Sunday announced it was testing new drone missile systems.

Iranian news channel Al Alam quoted Deputy Minister of Defense and the Armed forces, Mohammed Eslami as saying that testing of Karrar drones had been carried out during recent exercises of the Revolutionary Guards.

“The process of equipping missiles went according to plan,” he said.

The Karrar plane is considered to be the first Iranian manufactured drone bomber, and is characterized by its ability to fly long distances at a high speed, and as having a range of a thousand kilometers.

Brigadier Farzad Ismaili, commander of the Iranian air defense force, revealed that joint major maneuvers by the air defense force, the army and the Revolutionary Guard would begin next month.

(AFP, UPI)

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