Egypt: Iranian ties not at cost of undermining Gulf security

Updated 06 February 2013
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Egypt: Iranian ties not at cost of undermining Gulf security

CAIRO: Egypt moved on Tuesday to reassure its Gulf allies that any improvement in Cairo’s ties with Tehran will not be at the expense of undermining Gulf Arab security, as the Iranian president began a landmark visit.
“We consider the security of Gulf states in particular a red line,” Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said on the eve of an Islamic summit, in a bid to reassure Arab nations in the Gulf wary of a rapprochement with Iran.
“Egypt’s relations with any country will not be made at the expense of other countries’ security,” Amr told reporters, as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad kicked-off a three-day landmark visit to Egypt on Tuesday.
Ahmadinejad arrived on Tuesday in Cairo to attend the three-day Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit that opens on Wednesday in the Egyptian capital.
His visit is the first by an Iranian president to Egypt since the 1979 revolution — the same year Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel. A year later Tehran severed ties with Cairo in protest at the agreement.
Ahmadinejad has said that strengthening bilateral ties with Cairo would be a main aim of his visit.
“I will try to pave the ground for developing cooperation between Iran and Egypt,” he was quoted as saying by IRNA.
Iran has been reaching out to Egypt since Islamists came to power in the wake of the 2011 revolution that ousted veteran president Hosni Mubarak.
Mubarak’s successor, Muhammad Mursi who hails from the influential Muslim Brotherhood, has responded cautiously to Iranian efforts to revive ties, amid differences between Cairo and Tehran over Syria.
Ties between Iran and the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates — have been strained since Gulf troops rolled into Bahrain in 2011 to help put down Shiite-led protests.
In December leaders of the GCC held their annual summit and issued a statement saying they “reject and denounce” Iran’s “continued interference” in their internal affairs.
The GCC added that Tehran must “immediately and completely stop these actions and policies that increase regional tension and threaten security and stability.”
On Tuesday the Egyptian foreign minister insisted that Gulf Arab security “is part and parcel” of Egypt’s security.


Iran threatens to ‘vigorously’ resume enrichment if US quits nuclear deal

Updated 56 min 29 sec ago
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Iran threatens to ‘vigorously’ resume enrichment if US quits nuclear deal

  • US President Donald Trump has set a May 12 deadline for the Europeans to “fix” the 2015 agreement that provides for curbs to Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from financial sanctions
  • Zarif told reporters in New York that Iran is not seeking to acquire a nuclear bomb, but that Tehran’s “probable” response to a US withdrawal would be to restart production of enriched uranium

NEW YORK: Iran is ready to “vigorously” resume nuclear enrichment if the United States ditches the 2015 nuclear deal, and further “drastic measures” are being considered in response to a US exit, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Saturday.
Zarif told reporters in New York that Iran is not seeking to acquire a nuclear bomb, but that Tehran’s “probable” response to a US withdrawal would be to restart production of enriched uranium — a key bomb-making ingredient.
“America never should have feared Iran producing a nuclear bomb, but we will pursue vigorously our nuclear enrichment,” added the foreign minister, who is in the United States to attend a UN meeting on sustaining peace.
US President Donald Trump has set a May 12 deadline for the Europeans to “fix” the 2015 agreement that provides for curbs to Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from financial sanctions.
Zarif’s comments marked a further escalation of rhetoric following a warning earlier this month from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani that Washington would “regret” withdrawing from the nuclear deal, and that Iran would respond within a week if it did.
The fate of the Iran deal will be a key issue during French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to Washington beginning Monday, followed by talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington on Friday.
Zarif said the European leaders must press Trump to stick to the deal if the United States “intends to maintain any credibility in the international community” and to abide by it, “rather than demand more.”
The foreign minister warned against offering any concessions to Trump.
“To try to appease the president, I think, would be an exercise in futility,” he said.
European leaders are hoping to persuade Trump to save the deal if they, in turn, agree to press Iran to enter into agreement on missile tests and moderating its regional influence in Yemen, Syria and Lebanon.
If the United States buries the deal, Iran is unlikely to stick to the agreement alongside the other signatories — Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia --- said the foreign minister.
“That’s highly unlikely,” he said. “It is important for Iran to receive the benefits of the agreement and there is no way that Iran would do a one-sided implementation of the agreement.”
Zarif, who will attend a UN meeting on sustaining peace this week, warned of “drastic measures” under discussion in Iran.
He declined to be more specific, pointing to “what certain members of our parliament are saying about Iran’s options.”