Why Egypt Supports U.S. Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal :: The Investigative Project on Terrorism
CAIRO – 26 October President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi discussed Egypt's relations with Iran, which have been cut off for 40 years, during an. Bessma Momani examines the relationship between Egypt and Iran, and argues that although both share Islamist political ideologies and presumably have a. Egypt-Iran relations. In this Tuesday, Nov. 14, file photo, released by the Saudi. November 16, , am. Egypt tries to avoid a fight as allies escalate .
This study seeks to fill this void. I examine the areas of contention: In the concluding section, I discuss the unsuccessful efforts to reach a rapprochement and whether a thaw is likely in the foreseeable future.
Egypt, on the other hand, has a negligible Shiite minority. As a result, the Sunni-Shiite divide is less of an issue. Furthermore, unlike the Wahhabi preachers in Saudi Arabia, who hold strong opinions against Shiism, Egyptian clerics have adopted a more tolerant stance. Cairo has also charged Tehran with harboring members of Islamist organizations who have been convicted in Egyptian courts. Iran denies these allegations.
A major source of tension between Egypt and Iran is related to Khaled El-Islamboli, the army officer who assassinated Sadat in a military parade in The Iranian government subsequently named a street in Tehran after El-Islamboli.
Egypt’s relations with Iran depend on Arab national security - Egypt Today
Mubarak made changing that street name a sine qua non for the resumption of ties with Iran. This close cooperation with Israel and the United States was a major reason, among others, for the revolution.
Since its inception, the Islamic Republic has adopted a confrontational approach towards the Jewish state. Clearly, Iran and the Islamic Palestinian organizations mainly Hamas share the same strategic vision — that military resistance is the right path to liberating Palestine.
This shared political viewpoint gives Iran two additional advantages: Egypt, on the other hand, was the first Arab country to publicly sign a peace treaty with Israel and endorse diplomacy as the appropriate means to end the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Egypt is also concerned about the support and sympathy Hamas receives from the Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition group to the government in Cairo. The ejection of Fatah from Gaza in and the subsequent Palestinian in-fighting have exerted increased pressure on the Egyptian government. In response, Cairo has pursued a threefold strategy. Egypt strongly supports Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority as the only legitimate government, seeks to mediate between Fatah and Hamas and condemns what it considers Iranian interference in Palestinian and Arab affairs.
In the early s, Tehran played a crucial role in creating Hezbollah and has since strongly supported it. Indeed, Hezbollah is considered one of the strongest footholds Iran has established in the Arab world since the revolution. Despite this very close cooperation, it is important to emphasize that Hezbollah enjoys some autonomy; its leaders do not take orders from Tehran or seek to create a theocracy in Lebanon. In the day war between Israel and Hezbollah summerEgypt initially blamed the Shiite organization for provoking the Israelis.
However, the broad military operation and widespread destruction of Lebanon compelled Egyptian leaders to condemn Israel and support Hezbollah. Egyptian efforts to mediate between Lebanese political factions were not successful; however, the parties were able to reach an agreement in Doha, Qatar.
In the Lebanese election, Cairo was pleased to see Iranian-backed Hezbollah lose to the Sunni coalition, which all the moderate Arab states had supported. The tense relations between Egypt and Hezbollah were further escalated in Aprilwhen Egypt announced that it had broken up a Hezbollah cell plotting attacks on its soil.
Hassan Nasrallah, secretary-general of Hezbollah, denied accusations that his organization was trying to destabilize Egypt or planning attacks on Egyptian targets. He claimed that Hezbollah had sought to smuggle military equipment to Gaza to help the Palestinians: The significance of this dispute should be neither exaggerated nor minimized.
But it has not impeded good relations between Iran and the Arab world — including the UAE, which enjoys extensive political and economic ties with Tehran. Over the last three decades, Iranian officials have occasionally made statements claiming Bahrain as part of Iran. The latest was uttered in February by Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, former speaker of the Majlis parliament and current adviser to the supreme leader. The Islamic Republic shares long borders with Iraq, and the majority of Iraqis, like the majority of Iranians, are Shiites.
In short, Iran enjoys tremendous advantages in Iraq over Sunni Arab states in terms of its soft power and its close connection with many Iraqi ethnic and sectarian groups. Taking the lead in breaking the deadlock, Egypt was the first Arab country to send a resident ambassador, Ihab El-Sharif, to Baghdad in One month later, he was abducted and killed.
These joint efforts do not seem to have alleviated Egyptian and Arab anxiety over the Iranian role.
Egypt seems to prefer a strong Sunni leader or a secular Shiite to take control in Baghdad. However, the current Iraqi government, with strong ties to Tehran, has made significant progress in stabilizing the country.
After a combination of U. The Council has already issued three resolutions imposing sanctions on Iran to compel Tehran to stop its nuclear program.
At the time of this writing, these diplomatic efforts have yet to bear fruit. Still, it is important to highlight two points. First, Iran categorically denies any interest in making nuclear weapons.
Is there a future for Egyptian-Iranian relations?
While the agency complains about lack of transparency and limited cooperation, it has never verified that Iran is making nuclear weapons. Many Egyptians and Arabs claim that Western powers apply a double standard. Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, sums up this feeling: Israel is the real threat, since it possesses a nuclear arsenal and refuses to sign the Non-proliferation Treaty. They understand that another war would further destabilize the entire Middle East.
Fourth, in order to defuse tension and assure its Arab neighbors of its peaceful intentions, Iran has offered to share its nuclear expertise with them.
These assertions need to be scrutinized. True, Egyptian pride would be hurt if Tehran, rather than Cairo, makes the bomb. But Egypt does not need nuclear weapons.
- Quick links
- FEATURED MULTIMEDIA
- YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Contrary to popular belief, many Iranians spend their vacations abroad in order to avoid the restrictions they face in Iran. Iran is not only open for positive relations, but encourages them This month, Iran imported 25, tonnes of oranges from Egypt in preparation for Nawrouz, the Persian New Year festival.
Iran certainly has no shortages in oranges or fruits, and could rely on Turkey next door if needed. This move can be seen as an attempt to break the ice with Egypt. In terms of realpolitik, Iran has also been keen to draw Egypt closer to it.
Iran views Egypt as a strong regional influencer that shares plenty with the Iranian regime on regional matters, namely Syria and to a lesser extent, Yemen.
After the suspension, the Egyptian petroleum minister made a trip to Iran to explore the possibilities of striking an oil deal. Though a deal was not made, it struck one with Iraq instead, a close ally of Iran. The dent in Egyptian-Saudi relations has certainly encouraged Iran to approach Egypt, although we may find the dent unravelling very soon.
Traditionally, Egypt has been aligned with the GCC states in terms of security and their general overview of the region. The military exercises that will be carried with the UAE and Bahrain are a continuation of that.
Egypt carries policy inertia that does not view the Iranian regime favourably, mainly due to the latter's promotion of its ideology.