Egyptian official in Tehran for talks

December 12, 2007

TEHRAN -- Egypt’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Asian Affairs, Hussein Drar, arrived in Tehran on Tuesday night for talks with Iranian officials.

During his visit, Drar is scheduled to meet Foreign Ministry officials and discuss bilateral relations as well as regional and international developments, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs, Abbas Araqchi, told reporters on Tuesday.
Tehran and Cairo have not had diplomatic relations since 1980.
IC News quoted Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit as telling reporters on Monday that Darar would travel to Tehran with a letter for Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki “concerning bilateral relations.”
Egypt is the only Arab state with which Iran does not have normal relations.
The two Muslim countries currently have only interests sections in each other’s capital after Iran formally cut ties in 1980 following the Islamic revolution in protest at Cairo’s recognition of Israel and hosting of the deposed shah.
In a sign of easing tensions between the two countries, however, Cairo and Tehran have held trade talks.
""The coming period will see the beginning of a new phase in economic relations,"" Egypt’s Trade Minister Rashid Mohammed Rashid said on December 2, after talks in Cairo with Iran’s Industry and Mines Minister Aliakbar Mehrabian.
In May, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said Tehran was ready to restore full diplomatic relations with Egypt and would open its embassy in Cairo the ""very day"" the Egyptian government agreed.
Senior Egyptian and Iranian officials also held talks in September about resuming full diplomatic ties.
Dirar’s trip to Tehran comes after the Islamic republic, which the United States has been trying to isolate in vain, proposed to Egypt that the two states cooperate over civilian nuclear power.
""The letter addressed to Manuchehr Mottaki is about Egyptian-Iranian dialogue,"" AFP quoted Aboul Gheit as saying.
Egypt -- a staunch U.S. ally in the Middle East -- has said Tehran has the right to pursue nuclear power for peaceful purposes.
In October, President Hosni Mubarak said Egypt planned to construct several civilian nuclear reactors of its own, reviving an atomic program Cairo froze in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe in the former Soviet Union.
Following Mubarak’s announcement, Iran said it was ready to cooperate with Egypt in the civilian nuclear sector.
Among points of contention, Iran named a street in Tehran after Khaled Eslambouli, the Islamist who assassinated Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981, and put up murals praising him as a martyr