Egypt, Iran spar over media 'incitement' ad

Daily News Egypt
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Egypt is demanding Iran bring to justice the authors of an advertisement calling on Iranians to assassinate President Hosni Mubarak. The advertisement was published by the Iranian Fars News agency on Sunday by a student group. The announcement was in Persian and offered a reward of $1 million to whoever would carry out the deed, against the backdrop of Egypt’s alleged refusal to open the Rafah border with Gaza. Egyptian government ministers, members of parliament and media commentators called on Tehran to bring to trial the authors, who they called inciters. Iranian officials are saying the authors are “extremists who do not represent the position of the country and are out to jeopardize Egyptian-Iranian relations. They insisted that the Fars news agency was not official and did not reflect an official line. But Egypt says this matter cannot be tolerated. Mostafa El-Fiqi, head of the foreign relations committee in the People’s Assembly, said the provocateurs should be penalized for their actions, explaining that incitement to murder was a crime punishable by both international and state law. According to the London-based A-Sharq Al-Awsat, El-Fiqi said that, “In a state like Iran it is impossible to talk about news agencies or organizations that are not under state control, challenging the Iranian government’s attempt to dissociate itself from Fars. “This is not Britain or the United States. This is Iran and everything there is planned and organized. If something comes out of Iran, the authorities know about it and can stop it and if there’s incitement, the state is responsible, he said. Cairo and Tehran have had an acrimonious relationship for almost three decades. Iran cut its diplomatic relations with Egypt following late president Anwar Sadat’s signing of the Camp David peace agreement with Israel in 1979. Sadat’s welcoming of the Shah of Iran following the collapse of his regime after the Islamist revolution sharpened tensions between the two countries. More recently, Egypt and Iran had expressed willingness to restore diplomatic ties. Analysts say any thaw in these relations would be subtle to avoid threats to Egypt s delicate relations with the United States. Tension recently surged between Iran and Egypt over the latter s involvement in the Gaza crisis. – The Media Line

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