CAIRO: Egypt has cancelled a scheduled visit of an Iranian delegation to Cairo, further escalating a political row between the two nations.
Egypt s Parliament Speaker Dr Ahmad Fathi Sorour announced the cancellation of an Iranian visit, which was supposed to arrange the final preparations toward a scheduled conference of the Islamic Parliament s (IP) troika later this week.
The IP s troika is comprised of Egypt, which currently occupies the parliament s chairmanship, Iran, where the IP headquarters are based, and Indonesia, which will head the next IP session.
The Iranian leaders hostile statements toward Egypt do not allow a serious preparation for conference, said Sorour, according to the London-based daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat.
Sorour was referring to a statement made last week by Ali Akbar Rafsanjani – former Iranian president and head of Iran s Expediency Council – which criticized Egypt for closing its border with the Gaza Strip.
Islamic countries will one day be held accountable for their actions, Rafsanjani was quoted as saying by the Iranian daily Tehran Times.
An Iranian diplomat in Cairo also revealed that a two-man Iranian delegation, which was supposed to arrive in Cairo on Monday night for talks regarding the closure on Gaza, has also cancelled its trip due to the atmosphere.
The delegation was part of an Iranian-backed move to form a body comprised of Iran, Syria and Indonesia, that is to help remove existing obstacles to the shipment of humanitarian aid to Gaza, according to a report by Iran s official news agency IRNA.
This would probably lead to another cancellation, this time of the scheduled visit of Iranian Parliament s vice-speaker, Mahmoud Ahmadi, the Iranian diplomat added.
Meanwhile, Iran s Lebanese protégé – Hezbollah – is following suit and is calling on Egypt to open its border with the Gaza Strip on a permanent basis.
Egypt must take a historic, responsible stand [regarding Gaza], which will make the entire [Islamic] nation stand by it, Hezbollah chairman Hassan Nasrallah said on Monday.
Nasrallah called for a rally in Beirut next Friday in support of the citizens of Gaza. The Iranian-backed leader has also called for constant demonstrations across Lebanon until the end of the closure of Gaza. -The Media Line