AFP: Iran is ready to restore full diplomatic relations with Egypt by reopening its embassy in Cairo the “very day” the Egyptian government agrees, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday. TEHRAN, May 15, 2007 (AFP) – Iran is ready to restore full diplomatic relations with Egypt by reopening its embassy in Cairo the “very day” the Egyptian government agrees, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday.
“We are ready to establish diplomatic ties with Egypt. If the Egyptian government signals its willingness, we will open our embassy that very same day,” Ahmadinejad told reporters, according to the ISNA news agency.
Iran and Egypt currently only have interests sections in their respective countries after Iran cut ties in 1980 following the Islamic revolution in protest at Cairo’s recognition of Israel.
Iran’s Islamic rulers were also furious that the Egyptian government gave asylum to shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi after he was deposed by the revolution and also aided Iraq during the 1980-1988 war between Iraq and Iran.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is interred in a mausoleum in the Al-Rifa’i mosque in Cairo.
“The Egyptian and Iranian people are friends and our announcement about opening an embassy in Cairo shows the depth of Iran’s goodwill,” said Ahmadinejad, according to the Fars news agency.
Egypt is the only Arab state with which Iran does not have normalised relations.
The announcement by Ahmadinejad on his return from a visit to the United Arab Emirates and Oman appears to have been triggered by a question posed during the trip from an Egyptian newspaper journalist about mending ties.
In a sign of the past animosity between the two sides, Iran named a road in Tehran after Khaled Eslambouli, the man who assassinated president Anwar Sadat in 1981, and put up murals praising him as a martyr.
Tehran’s city agreed three years ago to change the name to “Intifada” but in practice the former name still remains in place on all street signs.
Iranian officials in 2004 expressed confidence that full ties with Egypt were on their way to being restored but these hopes came to nothing.