Egyptian official on first visit to Tehran in 27 years

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TEHRAN: Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Dirar on Wednesday met Iranian officials during a first official Egyptian visit to Tehran since diplomatic relations were broken off 27 years ago.

Dirar, who arrived in Iran late on Tuesday, brought a message from Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit for his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

The two sides discussed “bilateral ties, regional and international issues, state television reported, adding that they described the current talks as constructive and called for them to continue.

The two countries currently have only interests sections in each other’s capitals after Iran formally cut ties in 1980 following the Islamic revolution in protest at Cairo’s recognition of Israel and hosting the deposed shah.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday he was in favor of resuming ties with Egypt, which would be “in the interest of the two peoples.

“If Egypt invites me and relations are re-established, I myself am ready to go to Egypt, he said.

Cairo, a regional ally of the United States, has rejected any military option against Iran’s nuclear program, backing Tehran’s right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. -AFP

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