Egypt condemns Iranian 'interference' after army ousts Mursi

CAIRO Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:56am EDT

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CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt accused Iran on Thursday of "unacceptable interference" in its domestic affairs for having criticized the Egyptian army's removal of elected president Mohamed Mursi last week.

The incident signaled a return to cooler relations between the two Middle Eastern powers after an attempt at rapprochement under Mursi, who hails from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

Iran on Monday called the ousting of Mursi after mass protests against him a "cause for concern" and suggested that "foreign hands" were at work in the Arab state.

Egypt shot back on Thursday, expressing "extreme discontent" with the Islamic Republic's comments and saying they reflected a "lack of precise knowledge of the nature of the democratic developments Egypt is witnessing".

"This represents unacceptable interference in Egypt's internal affairs," the foreign ministry said in a statement on its Facebook page. Egypt made similar remarks to Turkey after its Islamist-rooted government criticized Mursi's ouster.

Western states have been cautious so far in characterizing the military overthrow of Mursi. Washington has specifically avoided referring to it as a "coup", a word that would force it to halt aid including $1.3 billion per year for the army.

Relations between Egypt and Iran broke down after the 1979 Iranian revolution, when Egypt gave sanctuary to the deposed shah. Many Egyptians harbor strong feelings against Iran.

Mursi tried to improve ties after he was elected in 2012. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Cairo in February, the first visit by an Iranian leader in more than three decades.

But the two countries remained sharply divided on Syria. Shi'ite Muslim Iran is the main backer of President Bashar al-Assad while Mursi, often under pressure from hardline Sunni Muslim allies, backed Syria's largely Sunni rebels.

Egypt historically has much stronger ties to Gulf Arab states who have vied with Iran for regional influence. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates provided Cairo's cash-strapped government $12 billion in aid this week.

(Reporting by Alexander Dziadosz; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Comments (2)
mohsen99s wrote:
in one hand you see saudis support the salafies in the past election and in the other hand you see after the military coup the kingdom is giveng billons of dollers

Jul 11, 2013 6:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
ChangeIranNow wrote:
The Egyptian military’s stunningly swift removal of President Morsi after mammoth street protests portend a lot more uncertainty in Egypt, but what is crystal clear is the Egyptian people’s repudiation of evolution of their country into a theocratic state under Morsi that ignored massive economic problems and placed its priorities in misguided foreign policy adventures. Sound familiar? It should because it’s a similar situation to what faces Iran where its people are chafing under the religious rule of Supreme Leader Khamenei and are more deeply concerned with the faltering economy and oppressive policies they face. If not for the iron-fisted support of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Iran would most likely be facing the same sort of mass street demonstrations that have engulfed Egypt and led to regime change.

Jul 11, 2013 2:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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