| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Tehran Seeks Rapprochement with Cairo Through Investments

Tehran has reiterated that the road was ready for an understanding with Egypt, in conjunction with similar statements about Iran’s “openness” to relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and “the resumption of negotiations on the nuclear agreement.”

For the third time in one month, Tehran sought to “compliment” Cairo, through statements by Iranian officials, calling for “the resumption of relations between the two capitals,” whether at the political or commercial levels.

In early July, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian stressed that strengthening relations between Tehran and Cairo “will benefit the two countries and peoples.” This was followed by a tweet by Mohammad Hossein Soltanifar, the head of Iran’s Interests Section Office in Cairo, praising what he described as “Egypt’s opposing stance on the project of an American alliance against Iran.”

Soltanifar continued to hint at the improvement of relations between Cairo and Tehran, through an article he published in the Iran Daily newspaper, and reported by the Iranian News Agency on Saturday. He said that the current developments “require raising the bilateral relations between the two countries… to the desired political level.”

Cairo, however, has so far met the repetitive Iranian statements with silence, as no official Egyptian response was made in this regard.

In remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Ambassador Hussein Haridy, former assistant to the Egyptian foreign minister, said: “Iran has issued several statements recently indicating a degree of openness to Arab powers, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, which gives the impression of the formation of a new phase in the Middle East. At the same time, Iranian statements were issued about Tehran’s response to European efforts to resume negotiations on the nuclear deal.”

Last month, Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein revealed his country’s hosting of bilateral dialogue between Iran and Arab countries, including Egypt and Jordan.

He said: “Iran has proposed the idea of establishing channels of communication with Egypt, and the talks between Riyadh and Tehran will be transformed into an open dialogue.”

Tehran’s recent statements on strengthening relations with Egypt have focused on the investment field.

Soltanifar noted that his country was ready to enter Egypt’s markets, by establishing a factory for the production of local vehicles and holding joint investments in the fields of banking, textiles, marine navigation, and carpets.

The Iranian official stressed that the close and growing relations between Egypt, Iraq and Syria “provide more opportunities for regional cooperation between Iran and Egypt.”

Haridy, in turn, emphasized that nothing would impede the establishment of trade exchange relations between Cairo and Tehran, but added that the current stage “does not allow for talks about investments, economic cooperation and factories.”

“Egypt will not make any step that can be understood as being against the general direction in the Gulf, nor will it allow relations with [Iran] to be a weapon for confrontation with the Gulf States,” he underlined.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat