Diplomatic relations between Egypt and Iran were broken when President Sadat of Egypt in 1979 offered refuge to the deposed Shah of Iran. Since then, the two nations have stood on the edges of the Middle East as hostile forces, one leaning closely to the United States while the other detests America. Mohamed Sadek Al-Husseini, Secretary General of the Iranian Egyptian Friendship Association, believes the two nations can play important roles in fostering peace in the Middle East. At present, Iran and the US are in an angry confrontation mode while Egypt is a member of the “6+2+1″ group composed of six members from the Gulf Cooperation Council, Egypt and Iran, and the United States whose goal is containing Iranian influence within the region. “Al Husseini points out that Egypt and Iran “are very influential countries. If Egypt and Iran were to work together to address hot spots of contention in the Arab-Muslim region, much can be done.”
Egypt presently has been opposed to the idea of an American attack on Iran and defends Iran’s right to peaceful use of atomic energy. Resumption of Egyptian-Iranian relations might provide an important voice assisting Iran to rethink its hostility towards working with the UN to ensure its atomic energy program is geared toward peaceful rather than aggressive purposes. It might benefit America and the region if Egypt were to assume a more forceful and significant role in dealing with regional issues. Step one in working toward that end is restoring relations between the two nations.