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Headline: Iran and Egypt Getting Closer

Iranian officials announced today that Iran and Egypt are close to restoring full diplomatic relations for the first time in 30 years. Last week, Egyptian President Mubarak and Iranian President Ahmadinejad spoke directly on the telephone. These recent talks have been prompted by the crisis in Gaza. Iran has asked Egypt to keep the Gaza border open, so that Iranian goods can enter freely.

Cool relations between Iran and Egypt track three decades of disagreement. Egypt has full diplomatic ties with Israel, and Iran does not recognize the Jewish state. In addition, Egypt gave asylum to the deposed Iranian Shah after the Islamic Revolution. Full relations with Iran would end the final division between Egypt and fellow Islamic states resulting from the 1977 Camp David peace deal with Israel. It will also impact the overall situation in the region, as Egypt is a key US ally and crucial participant in Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

The BBC reports that Iran's assistant foreign minister delivered a special message to Egypt's foreign minister. Iran's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki said that Iran is now "waiting for our Egyptian brothers to express their readiness" to establish relations.


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