Iran and Egypt Normalizing Relations for New Regional Balance
Having normalized relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran is now looking to Egypt to reset ties after over four decades of strained ties. Tehran and Cairo are mending ties and moving towards a closer relationship.
Officials from both countries have been engaged in multiple rounds of talks. Egyptian Prime Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, having won elections for the third consecutive time, is ready to start afresh with Iran. In a telephonic conversation on Saturday with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, he acknowledged the role their countries can play in the establishment of regional security and stability.
Iran and Egypt have been vocal against Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and have stood as a unified front with Jordan in deterring Tel Aviv from displacing the Palestinian people.
Egypt and Iran: Starting Afresh
Egypt is willing to reassess its ties with Tehran in hopes of restoring political and diplomatic relations between the two countries. Moreover, changing regional and global dynamics is pushing Iran and Egypt toward each other.
According to the Middle East Political and Economic Institute, important efforts have been made by Iraq and Oman to facilitate direct talks and bring the parties closer. Given the normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, countries in the region want the same for Tehran and Cairo. Talks have been ongoing since 2021 with the primary objective to explore possibilities of improving bilateral relations and developing strategies aimed at preventing any potential misunderstandings or clashes pertaining to regional issues.
The spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry Nasser Kanaani, in March 2023, highlighted the importance of restoring relations with Egypt and emphasized the need for new measures to enhance bilateral ties. An agreement has been reached between the two countries to re-establish diplomatic relations and re-open their respective embassies.
Iran and Egypt Strengthen Cooperation
Iran and Egypt seek to strengthen regional and strategic cooperation with each other on issues, including Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Palestine. Experts say Egypt’s desire to mitigate tensions in the Gaza Strip is a good motive for seeking closer ties with Tehran given Iran’s close relationships with several Palestinian groups – Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Furthermore, Egypt wants to maintain stability in the Gaza Strip and avoid the current-like situations with Israel. Iran recognizes Egypt’s significant role in the Palestinian peace process and bringing stability. Both countries are also looking at economic and trade cooperation.