Iranian Media: Morsi Wants Closer Egypt-Iran Ties

Posted June 25th, 2012 at 5:25 am (UTC-5)
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Iranian state media reports say Egyptian president-elect Mohammed Morsi wants to strengthen ties with Iran.

The semi-official Fars news agency on Monday quoted Mr. Morsi saying a closer relationship with Tehran would create a “strategic balance” in the region. The two countries have not had diplomatic relations since 1980.

The report said Mr. Morsi's comments came Sunday hours before Egypt's election commission declared him the winner.

He later gave a speech in which he promised to work for national unity and to uphold international agreements, saying Egypt “wants peace.”

Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, becoming the first Arab nation to do so. Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has been a strong critic of Israel and has refused to rule out revising the treaty.

Mr. Morsi called on all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians, to unite. He said this is the only way to get out of the difficult period since a popular uprising ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak last year and left the military in charge of a chaotic transition.

Mr. Morsi is the first civilian to be elected to the Egyptian presidency. The 60-year old U.S.-educated engineer ran for the post as a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a role that landed him in jail in the Mubarak era. After being confirmed as president-elect, Mr. Morsi resigned from the Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party, in a gesture to other parties with whom he hopes to form a unity government.

The military council has promised to hand power to an elected president by the end of his month, but it also has made a series of declarations in recent days stripping the presidency of most of its powers. The council has taken for itself key executive authority and claimed control of legislative affairs after dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood-led lower house of parliament earlier this month.

The Brotherhood has rejected the military's actions, and Mr. Morsi's supporters have vowed to stay in Cairo's Tahrir Square until the powers are restored to the president and legislature, raising the prospect of a power struggle between the Islamists and the generals.