Dating iran friendship
Indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood did not have connections with Iran before Morsi invited Ahmadinejad to visit -making him the first Iranian president to set foot in Cairo since the 1979 Islamic Revolution; yet the sequel of events that follow the MB’s rule shape many prospects of the Iran-Egypt relations and by referring to the current and historical relations between both countries; it is observed that the Egyptian government holds major restriction on Shi’as and considers them as a dangerous minority.Efforts to improve Iranian-Egyptian relations were cemented with the offer to host hundreds of Iranian tourists, yet restrictions on where and what they could visit was a stumbling block between the two nations.
At the time of his visit, crowds flooding the streets of Cairo were reported to number around 2 million.Right after his election, he became the first president in more than three decades to visit Iran, under the umbrella of passing the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement to Tehran.Yet while there, he criticized Syria’s Assad regime, of whom Iran is a patron, and later sided with Syrian rebels by severing diplomatic relations with Syria.As an ally of the US, President Hosni Mubarak made no attempt to restore relations with Iran, and during his tenure, Iranians could not enter Egypt on their Iranian passports.While Morsi made some attempts to rekindle ties with Iran, they were short lived and not constructive.Morsi’s Tehran visit yielded some results in tourism, with Iran waiving entry visa requirements for Egyptians and Air Memphis, owned by Egyptian businessman Rami Lakah, ran the first direct commercial flight from Cairo to Tehran in 34 years.
But the first group of Iranian tourists sparked a wave of angry rhetoric from hard-line Islamists claiming the Shi’a visitors were a threat to national security.
Over the past half century, bilateral relations have been consistently turbulent – from the military coup staged by Free Officers Movement led by Nasser and toppling monarchism to the present time.
Nasser established strong relations with Arab leaders to gradually distance Egypt from Israel and the West.
Fanning the flames was a growing anti-Shi’a sentiment not only toward Iranian tourists but to the Shi’a community in Egypt and culminating in the disturbing mob lynching and murder of four Shi’ite Egyptians in the Giza village.
Discrimination against Shi’a has always been around in Egypt, and even after the MB’s rule, people still practice discrimination against Shi’as and thus they relate it to Iran; as Iran hosts the largest branch of Shi’a Islam.
Even though Princess Ashraf later went on to marry Ahmed Shafiq Bey, son of Egypt’s then-Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq Pasha, relations gradually collapsed between the two countries, culminating with Princess Fawzia’s return to Egypt in May 1945 after her unhappy life in Iran with the shah – she divorced him later that year.