Morsi in Tehran for landmark visit


Egypt's new President Mohamed Morsi arrived in Tehran on Thursday for a landmark visit during which he will open a Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit, state television showed.

It was the first time an Egyptian leader has visited Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979, after which Tehran and Cairo cut diplomatic relations.

Share this story
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi speaks to Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping (not pictured) during their meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, 29 August 2012. Morsi is in China on a three-day visit after which he will stop off in Tehran for a Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement on 30 August.

Iran has hailed the presence of Morsi - who comes from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood - as a chance to thaw ties.

Morsi was welcomed at the airport in Tehran by Iranian Vice-President Hamid Baqaei.

Morsi's spokesman said before the visit that the Egyptian leader would stay in Tehran for only a few hours.

Iran's Al-Alam television cited unidentified Iranian officials as saying the Egyptian leader would see Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to discuss bilateral relations, regional events, and the revolts sweeping the Arab world that this year brought Morsi to power.

At the summit, Morsi was to deliver a speech starting the two-day summit and officially hand over the rotating presidency of the NAM, held by Egypt for the past three years, to Iran.

The NAM, representing 120 nations, covers much of the developing world. It seeks UN reform to dilute the power of the UN Security Council, upholds the creation of a Palestinian state, and criticises Western sanctions imposed on some of its members including Iran. - AFP

Share this story