Iran and Egypt 'hold security talks' amid regional thaw

Iran and Egypt 'hold security talks' amid regional thaw
As part of ongoing efforts to rekindle ties, Tehran and Cairo have begun talks on security matters.
2 min read
19 July, 2023
Oman has been mediating talks between Iran and Egypt [Getty]

Iran and Egypt have begun security talks, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said, amid a break through in efforts to re-establish ties.

The two countries have been at loggerheads since the 1979 revolution in Iran that toppled the shah, with numerous breaks in diplomatic relations over the decades.

There were attempts by President Abdel-Fattah Sisi's government to mend ties with Tehran, which came amid a wider détente in the region.

"Security talks with Egypt have begun, and the latest development in this regard is the message carried by the Sultan of Oman during his visit to Tehran after he held talks in Egypt with Sisi about the necessity of advancing political relations between the two countries," Abdollahian said, as his Omani counterpart Badr bin Hamad Al-Busaidi visited Tehran this week.

He said the message was received at the highest level, in reference to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

"We are currently planning to upgrade relations [with Egypt] at the appropriate time according to a programme agreed on," he added.

Speaking to Iranian state media, Iran's top diplomat said Syria was an issue of joint concern for Tehran and Cairo since Sisi assumed power after a military coup in 2013.

He claimed that the political direction of Sisi was to combat "terrorism and extremism" in Syria "and avoid conforming to regime change in Damascus".

Egypt has reportedly supported the Syrian regime since the 2013 coup overthrew the democratically-elected Muslim Brotherhood government.

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Iran has backed Bashar Al-Assad’s regime since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, flying in weapons and thousands of militia fighters.

The war is believed to have killed over half a million people - the vast majority of civilians killed by the Syrian regime. Assad and his allies have often referred to opposition and rebel groups as terrorists.

Abdollahian said there would be restrictions on increasing cooperation with Egypt and wants more practical steps to expand ties.

Relations between Iran and Egypt have been marred with tension and distrust over the last few decades, particularly in the aftermath of the 1979 revolution when then-Egyptian president Anwar Sadat welcomed the ousted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to the country.

Ties were subsequently restored and cut several times throughout the last few decades. However, both countries have had numerous rounds of talks in Iraq and Oman aimed at restoring relations and said they would exchange ambassadors this year.

This comes in the aftermath of the historic China-brokered détente between long-time regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia in March. More regional countries have moved to amend ties following the agreement.