Meeting with the head of the Iranian interests section in Cairo and his delegation
On March 6, 2019, The Council was visited by Mr. Ambassador/Sabah Zanganeh, Professor at Shiraz University, Advisor to the Iranian Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Iranian/Egyptian Business Council, accompanied by Mr. Ali Reda Ashraf, Secretary General of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, accompanied by Ambassador Nasser Kanaani, Head of the Iranian Interests Department in Cairo, at the request of the latter, where he was received by: Ambassador Dr. Mounir Zahran, President of the Council, and Ambassador Dr. Ezzat Saad, Director of the Council.
After welcoming the Iranian side from the President of the Council, the Iranian guest addressed Egyptian-Iranian relations, where he said he was visiting Cairo to participate in the meeting of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce.
The meeting addressed the following points in particular:
The two countries have always found space for cooperation and coordination on major issues in the region and the world, at the expense of bilateral relations, referring to the issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as the issues of nuclear non-proliferation when the two countries submitted a draft resolution to the General Assembly in 1974, declaring the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone. He added that this issue remains vital as Egypt and Iran share pressure from the West to prevent them from making the most of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, in accordance with Article 4 of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The major countries did not accept that the Countries of the Middle East should take their place and overcome the obstacle of underdevelopment, especially in the fields of science and technology, stressing the importance of cooperation between the two countries in these areas.
The Palestinian issue is the first issue for Iran, and he regretted that the Americans were not ready for a just solution to it. In this context, he hailed what he described as the initiatives of the Palestinian people in order to expose Israeli methods and the deliberate killing of Palestinians, referring to Friday return marches in the Gaza Strip. He added that everyone is required to support the Palestinian steadfastness in Gaza and the West Bank, which will lead to the failure of the deal of the century, explaining that it contains time bombs and that its acceptance will negatively affect all Arab countries, especially neighboring countries, which needs continued cooperation and coordination between Arab and Islamic countries. The Iranian guest concluded that the success of the deal of the century depended on Trump’s survival, and that their appreciation that the deep state would not allow him to continue.
He touched on the situation in Yemen, pointing out that the escalation of the conflict there was due to the entry of some countries in the region in a war against some Yemeni components to achieve some gains on the ground. He added that there was a dialogue between Iran and the countries concerned about Yemen before King Salman took office, and then frozen everything since his coming, adding that the Houthis, who are seen as an extension of imamate in Yemen, were supported by Saudi Arabia and Iran and that the situation is now strange for them, stressing that war and violence will not lead to any solution but to more congestion in the region. He said that Iran has taken the initiative from the beginning the importance of dialogue among Yemenis themselves, free from the interference of neighboring countries, but the concern of Saudi Arabia and the UAE has led to the feeding and strengthening of extremism in Yemen, represented by al-Qaeda and others, which seize weapons provided by the United States and other countries to Yemen. His country hoped that the Stockholm dialogue would produce positive results.
With regard to the Syrian file, the Iranian guest pointed out that there is a similarity in the positions of Egypt and Iran in this regard, in terms of the illegality of regime change and the rejection of sectarianism. They strongly reject turkey’s occupation of any part of northern Syria and that the unity of Syrian territory is sacred to them, pointing out that Washington is playing a dangerous and bad game by relying on arming the Kurds in Syria, describing it as a “malicious recipe” for the unity of Syria by exploiting the Kurdish component to threaten the territorial integrity of countries with Kurdish components.
In connection with the above, the Iranian guest stated that there are outstanding issues in the Syrian file that are still looking for solutions such as the constitution and the situation in Idlib and the elections, as well as Israeli interventions and extremist organizations on the Israeli border and supported by Israel in order to keep Iran away from Syria.
In response to our question about the position of the Kurds of Iran, the Iranian guest pointed out that they live in a state of relative well-being and that they have representatives in parliament, including ambassadors and ministers, although some of their parties have the dreams of the Kurdish state, pointing out that due to their large number in Turkey compared to their numbers in other countries, the ceiling of the Kurds of Turkey remains the highest.
The guest referred to President Assad’s recent visit to Tehran, noting that it shows the strength of Syria’s relations with Iran and not just Russia. He added that Iranian companies are establishing and implementing many projects in Syria, including infrastructure, where He said that Tehran has invested about $7-8 billion, that new Iranian investments will be injected into the fields of shipping, railways, roads, housing and industry — including the automobile industry — and oil refineries, and that Iranian exhibitions in Syria are uninterrupted.
Ambassador Nasser Kanaani noted the importance of cooperation and consultation between Egypt and Iran to expand and revitalize economic and trade relations.
Ambassador Mounir Zahran noted that Egypt and Iran have been cooperating since 1974 on denuclearization of the Middle East, and that the United States has completely abandoned the 1995 resolution to establish the WMD-free zone by making false promises, which led to the failure of a number of review conferences, adding that the third preparatory committee for the 2020 Review Conference will be held in New York. In late April and early May, it will reveal the extent to which the United States, along with Russia and the United Kingdom, cooperates with the three countries on the implementation of the 1995 Review Conference resolution, the importance of considering amending the review conference’s procedure slate and the possibility of reconsidering the treaty’s indefinite extension decision, on the basis that the decision to free the Middle East from nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction was taken as part of the deal.
He concluded by expressing the hope that the Egyptian side will facilitate the granting of visas to businessmen and merchants, allowing communication between the two sides in trade and economic relations.