Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
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Can Egypt bring Iranian regional policies to heel?

Saturday 20/May/2023 - 11:24 PM
The Reference
Mohamed Youssri

Over the past few months, the Middle East region has been experiencing attempts to reshape relations with in it anew.

Iran is becoming a key player in this. The Islamic Republic stepped up its activities as of the beginning of this year. It started taking steps towards normalizing relations with Saudi Arabia.

During the Baghdad conference for cooperation and partnership in December 2022, there were discussions about holding talking between Egypt and Iran at the security and political levels.

This discussion was made by regional players, such as Iraq, and international ones, such as China.

This opens the door for normalization between Cairo and Tehran. Nevertheless, the question that arises now is: How will Cairo react to this normalization, especially in the light of ideological differences with Tehran?

Iranian desire

Discussions about this issue began publicly during a meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani and Iranian Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the Baghdad conference for cooperation and partnership in Baghdad in December 2022.

During the meeting, the Iranian foreign minister said the Iraqi premier would continue to pursue this issue, in line with Iraq's regional role to help strengthen dialogue and cooperation.

This was not the first meeting in which this issue was raised. In July 2022, the Iranian foreign minister confirmed in press statements that strengthening relations between Tehran and Cairo is in the interests of the countries of the region and the peoples of the two countries.


Relations between Egypt and Iran date back to 1928. Since that date, there have been different stages, including ones where the ruling families in the two states reached complete amity, especially after the marriage of Princess Fawzia, the sister of King Farouk of Egypt, and the Shah of Iran Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Princess Fawzia's marriage to the shah ended with her divorce, less than seven years after they tied the knot.

This had an impact on relations between Cairo and Tehran.

However, the July 23 Revolution of 1952 came and the differences between the two countries increased after the support late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser offered then Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh against the Shah's regime.

Possible convergence

Iraqi international and Arab affairs expert Hazem al-Obeidi described the possible détente between Cairo and Tehran as a 'good' and 'sensitive' step.

"Egypt is aware of every step it takes in this framework," al-Obeidi told The Reference.

He stressed that Egyptian negotiators have a superior ability to appreciate what they want from such a step.

"Egypt is an independent sovereign state that is not subject to dictates from outside," al-Obeidi said. "It is large in size and regional weight."