Spokesman for Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abu Zeid on Friday called remarks by Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah about the economic situation in Egypt “nonsense” and “an attempt to recall fake heroism.”
Nasrallah’s statements are likely linked to Egypt snubbing Iranian attempts to open channels for communication between Cairo and Tehran, an informed source who requested anonymity told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“There are repeated requests and contacts on the part of Tehran to try to advance relations with Egypt,” the source said, adding that Iran believed that ties would warm up after its delegation attended the COP27 summit in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Nevertheless, Egypt has not yet reacted to Iran’s attempts, the source explained.
Almost a week ago, Nasrallah had received Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Beirut, and they discussed developments and political situations in Lebanon, Palestine, and the region.
“Egypt’s calculations regarding Iran are accurate and linked to regional and Arab relations, and Cairo is committed to a comprehensive vision, not momentary changes,” the source affirmed.
The past months witnessed repeated Iranian signals regarding “strengthening relations with Egypt.”
Amir-Abdollahian confirmed, last July, that “strengthening relations between Tehran and Cairo is in the interest of the countries of the region and the peoples of the two countries.”
In a speech on the anniversary of the launch of Hezbollah’s affiliated Consultative Center for Studies and Documentation, Nasrallah invited attendees to examine the economic situation in Egypt, the first country to sign a peace agreement with Israel.
Nasrallah said that Egypt’s commitment to peace with Israel did not prevent its economy from needing loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
He also reviewed the situation in Jordan and other countries.
Ties between Egypt and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah have witnessed sharp and rare turns during the past two decades.
Egypt had previously arrested a Hezbollah cell that was operating on its soil. It convicted the members of the cell in 2010 with court rulings ranging from six months to life imprisonment, but cell leader, Sami Shehab, managed to escape prison in 2011.
In 2015, Shehab received a new sentence in absentia of two years in prison.