As Iran loses ground in Syria, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip, expect Tehran to try to shore up its ability to influence the Middle East in the most unlikely of places: Egypt.
Over the last few years there have been numerous signs that Cairo and Tehran were making tentative steps toward changing their previously rather frosty relations, including the transit of Iranian warships through the Suez Canal, open discussion among decision-makers in both countries about normalizing ties, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s August 2012 visit to Iran for a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement, and his Iranian counterpart’s reciprocal visit to Cairo this past February for the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. In addition, the current cause célèbre between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis of the al Nour party concerns whether to allow Iranian tourists to visit Egypt. The Brothers are for it, while the Salafis, fearing Shi’a proselytizing, are vehemently opposed. Read more »