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Ties With Egypt to Be Restored, Iran Says

From Associated Press

Iran and Egypt have decided to resume full diplomatic ties, which were broken in 1979, Iranian Vice President Mohammed Ali Abtahi said Tuesday.

He said the decision to work toward full normalization was made last month at a meeting in Geneva between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Iranian President Mohammad Khatami.

“Iran and Egypt have decided to fully resume diplomatic ties. An official announcement to that effect is expected in the next few days,” Abtahi said.

“It’s a historic achievement serving the interests of both Tehran and Cairo as well as the Palestinian cause and interests of Muslim nations in the Middle East,” he said.

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher indicated Tuesday that Abtahi’s statement was premature.

“You tell me there is a statement from Iran,” he said, referring to news reports of a resumption of full relations. “I’ve seen it. It is a statement in the future. When the future becomes the present, you will hear from me.”

Iran and Egypt broke diplomatic relations in 1979 after Tehran condemned Egyptian President Anwar Sadat for signing the Camp David peace accords with Israel. In the late 1980s, they resumed contact, but at a low level. They now have interest sections, not embassies, in each other’s capitals.

Earlier Tuesday, the Tehran City Council decided to rename a street that had been called Khaled Islambouli Street in honor of the Egyptian army lieutenant who assassinated Sadat in 1981 -- a name that had angered Egypt and had been a sticking point in relations.

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The street’s new name is Intifada -- after the Palestinian uprising against Israeli forces, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported.

Most Tehran residents did not use the name Khaled Islambouli, preferring to refer to the street by its former name, Vozara, which means “Cabinet ministers” in Farsi.


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