Egypt and Iran: Will the Two Walk Together?
Until Mubarak’s ouster, Egypt, which viewed the Islamic Revolution as a threat to its regime, was a central link in the axis of anti-Iran Arab nations. The more than 30 years following the Khomeini revolution were marked by hostility between Egypt and Iran and the lack of diplomatic relations between them. Sadat’s Egypt was willing to grant asylum to the deposed shah, and the Islamic Republic of Iran honored Sadat’s assassin by naming a Tehran street after him. After Mubarak’s fall, various political elements in “the new Egypt” contended that the hostility with Iran was unnatural, and testified rather to the propensity of the Mubarak regime to subordinate Egyptian interests to United States and Israeli interests. Consequently, they argued, it is now incumbent on Egypt to renew relations with Iran and maintain close ties with it. The fact that Egypt allowed Iranian military vessels to pass through the Suez Canal en route to the Mediterranean seemed to be a practical expression of this change in the Egyptian approach to Iran. Iran, of course, welcomed these developments, and since then there have been attempts, mainly at the behest of Iran, to renew bilateral relations. These efforts, however, have come to naught – and apparently, this result is intentional.