Egypt’s president to visit Iran, a first in decades
President Mohamed Morsi will attend a summit meeting in Iran this month, a presidential official said Saturday, the first such trip for an Egyptian leader since relations with Iran deteriorated decades ago.The visit could begin a thaw between the countries after years of ill will, especially since 1979 with the Egypt-Israel peace treaty and Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Under Mr. Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, sided with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-dominated Arab states in trying to isolate Shiite-led Iran.
Until now, contacts have been channeled through low-level forms of diplomatic representation. Last year, the interim military council that was then governing Egypt, expelled an Iranian diplomat on suspicion that he was trying to set up spy rings.
It is too early to assess the implications of the visit or to what extent Egypt may normalize relations with Iran, but analysts believe it will bring Egypt back to the regional political stage.
The official said that Mr. Morsi would visit Tehran on Aug. 30 to attend the Nonaligned Movement meeting, where Egypt will transfer the movement’s rotating leadership to Iran. The movement was established during the cold war to advocate for developing nations.