Egypt’s president-elect Mohamed Morsi denied on Monday that he told an Iranian news outlet that Egypt’s Camp David peace accord with Israel “will be reviewed”, and that he would renew his country’s ties with Tehran.
Iran’s Fars News, a “semi-official” news agency with ties to the government, published a lengthy interview on its Persian language website on Monday, which it said Morsi gave in Cairo hours before the official runoff results were declared on Sunday. Yesterday, however, Yasser Ali, a spokesman for Morsi, told Egypt’s official MENA news agency that “There was never a meeting with the Iranian news agency Fars and what was taken as statements has no basis in truth”.
In the interview Fars published, the president-elect allegedly said that his country’s policy toward Israel would be “one of equality, because we are no less than [the Israelis] in any way,” and that he planned to discuss with Israel the issue of the Palestinian “right to return … Of course all this will be done though the government and the cabinet, because I alone will not make any decision.”
Fars also said Morsi pledged to restore ties between Tehran and Cairo. Iran cut all official ties with Egypt in 1979, in response to the Camp David Accords that were signed the previous year. “We must restore normal relations with Iran based on shared interests, and expand areas of political coordination and economic cooperation because this will create a balance of pressure in the region,” the semi-official news agency quoted Morsi as saying in a transcript of the interview.
The remarks Fars quoted in the interview contrasted sharply with promises Morsi made during his presidential campaign and his Sunday night acceptance speech, in which he pledged to honour Egypt’s international agreements, including its peace treaty with Israel.
No Israeli officials have responded to Morsi’s alleged comments to the Fars news agency. However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and Defence Minister Ehud Barak all made public statements on Monday in support of the peace treaty with Egypt.
Also on Monday, Morsi held his first official meeting with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) head Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and the rest of the military leadership, which lasted one hour, according to Egyptian daily Al-Ahram. The newspaper cited unnamed defence ministry sources as saying that Tantawi congratulated Morsi.