Shadow of Hasty Decisions on Tehran-Cairo Relations

08 February 2013 | 15:15 Code : 1912567 Middle East General category
A speech made by Seyyed Mohammad Sadegh Kharrazi in the Iranian Diplomacy round table on Egypt’s developments and its regional impacts
Shadow of Hasty Decisions on Tehran-Cairo Relations


Following September 11th, the Muslim Brotherhood plays its role as the trusted pole of the West in some Islamic states. It must be understood that developments have occurred in the thought and strategy of the political West and that is a different look at political and ideological movements which have been created after democratic developments to change the nature of power. September 11th was the turning point in changing the outlook and paying serious attention to political movements which sought dialogue.

One of these active political movements in the world of Islam has been the Muslim Brotherhood which, for years, has attempted to reach power. The Muslim Brotherhood, by passing different historical periods and transforming from the Jihadi Brotherhood into a democracy-seeking group, has gained the relative trust of the West as an option in necessary times for social and thinking developments. The result of these developments can gradually be seen in Qatar, Turkey, Palestine, and even Indonesia and other countries in the world of Islam, particularly in Egypt where they have managed the Muslim Brotherhood with interaction and special care and incidentally the Muslim Brotherhood is playing its role exactly where the interests of the West lie. This change, by nature, is not in conflict with the interests of the West and the US and it will not be either. They will move towards the path they like. On this path, there is no political jihad and conflict of interest with the strategic interests of the US. In other words, this is a new atmosphere which is developing and coming out of the power of Mubarak's political system.

As the economic and industrial developments in the world concluded in the late 70's and early 80's that the auto-making industry must move to another part of the world for the management of superior technologies in the world and they generously gave the third world the technology of auto-making, they created the same thought in the political world as well.

They advanced their interests in Turkey with the Islamist and democracy-seeking Erdogan rather than traditional military men who were the manifestations of the Laic system. Erdogan has shown himself much closer to the interests of the West than the military men and Laics of Turkey. Besides, the costs are less for the Western world. Nevertheless, instead of holding arms, these Islamists seek dialogue and, instead of confronting the West, safeguard its interests at the negotiating table.

A strategic development has taken place in the West, where it talks with moderate movements which have been registered in the world of Islam.

The Muslim Brotherhood, due to its traditional and historical base in Egypt, cannot be eliminated. Perhaps it might lose power due to its weak management, but it will always be present in the political scene of Egypt. It is not right to imagine that the Muslim Brotherhood would leave the scene as well if Morsi leaves the scene. The Muslim Brotherhood is present in politics and the essence of the Muslim Brotherhood’s potentials in Egypt and the world of Islam is the most important means of power for a political party which has been able to play a role beyond geographical and political boundaries.

It seems that behind the curtains of political negotiations, Morsi has given the necessary guarantees to the western powers to safeguard their interests and take no steps against them. But he is bound to do some maneuvers and it is completely obvious from his negotiations with the US and Europe that he intends to both control the nationalists and contain his domestic rivals.

I feel sorry that the relations between Iran and Egypt have been affected by unwise and hasty decisions. When they decide on the spur of the moment to establish relations and the other party not only does not welcome this move but also takes a few steps back and sets unrelated conditions, this would be the result. The complicated sphere of foreign policy cannot be managed with naivety. When the officials themselves do not take our exceptional situation seriously or do not have necessary confidence in regional competitions, the result would be that Iran cannot utilize its unique capacities with its strategic capacity in the political geography of the region. What is important is self-restraint and avoiding any hastiness and sentimental behavior in Iran-Egypt relations. Iran has numerous capabilities which Egypt needs.

Our first priority in relations with Egypt is the cultural priority and then political and economic aspects. Our priorities with Egypt have not yet been set and we have not defined or redefined them.

Morsi's behavior in the NAM Summit in Tehran was not right. Ever person has his own status. When people act hastily, the result is that the Egypt under Mubarak is not different from Egypt under Morsi for Iran and no development has been made. Perhaps a series of negotiations have taken place but none of them were strategic; for political relations between the two countries need to be fundamentally reviewed. I believe that negotiations were not done at a high level and unfortunately the behavior of the Egyptians is such that they have made us the tool of their dealings with the West.

The most important component in our foreign relations should be restraining from acting hastily and having a deep and strategic look, in particular, with regard to countries like Egypt.

The three countries of Iran, Egypt, and Turkey have founded the bases of the Middle East and they have been the criteria and axes of political developments and political geography from historical, civilization, cultural, and even religious aspects during the last 200 years.

tags: egypt muslim brotherhood iran