(JNS.org) Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while in Egypt as the first head of state from the Islamic Republic to visit the country in more than three decades, said relations between the two nations—which have been frayed for more than three decades since Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution—are “entirely possible.”
“The Egyptian leadership, however, must accept our position regarding the liberation of all of Palestine,” Ahmadenijad told the Lebanese television channel Al Mayadeen on Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Ahmadinejad made a similar statement before the trip, telling Al-Mayadeen that “the political geography of the region will change if Iran and Egypt take a unified position on the Palestinian question,” adding that he wishes to “pray in Jerusalem after complete liberation.”
The Iranian president’s comments come at a time when Egypt is led by a new president, Mohamed Morsi, who is from the Muslim Brotherhood party—the parent organization of the Iran-funded terrorist group Hamas.
In addition to his historic Egypt visit, Ahmadenijad said he would also “go ahead and visit Gaza” if he were allowed to do so.
“The land of Gaza is sacred because it is on the road to Al-Quds [Jerusalem],” Ahmadenijad said. “I hope the day of Al-Quds’ liberation comes soon, and I can go to the holy city and pray at Al-Aqsa.”
Regarding the reported Israeli airstrike on Syria last week, Ahmadinejad made his usual anti-Israel remarks.
“The Zionists attacked Syria out of weakness,” he said.
Ahmadinejad’s Egypt visit comes amid turmoil and deep mistrust in the region between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims, which may complicate efforts to improve Iranian-Egyptian ties. Sunni Muslim powers, spearheaded by oil rich states in the Gulf, are concerned with Shi’a Iran’s nuclear ambitions and support for both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah. Adding to the tension is the millennia-old theological rift between the different sects of Islam, which was highlighted by Ahmadinejad’s cold reception at Cairo’s historic al-Azhar mosque by Sunni religious leaders.
“The restoration of full relations with Iran in this period is difficult, despite the warmth in ties ... because of many problems including the Syrian crisis and Cairo’s links with the Gulf states, Israel and the United States,” said a former Egyptian diplomat, Reuters reported.