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Egypt Condemns Iranian 'Interference' After Tehran Comments

July 11, 2013

Egypt has accused Iran of "unacceptable interference" in its domestic affairs after Tehran criticized the army's removal of Islamist President Muhammad Morsi.

In a statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry also expressed "extreme discontent" with the Iranian comments.

Iran on July 8 described Morsi's ousting, which followed mass protests against him, as a "cause for concern" and said "foreign hands" were at work in Egypt.

"The intervention of armed forces in political affairs is unacceptable and disturbing," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araqchi was quoted as telling Mehr news agency regarding events in Egypt. "It cannot be denied that foreign hands are at work here," Araqchi said, adding, "The polarization of Egyptian society is dangerous."

The dispute marks a return to cooler relations between the two regional powers after a rapprochement under Morsi following his election in 2012.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad visited Cairo in February, the first visit by an Iranian leader in more than three decades.

But the two countries remained sharply divided on Syria, with Shi'ite Iran backing President Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Egypt supporting the rebel opposition.

In a number of Friday Prayer sermons last week, influential clerics derided the latest Egyptian crisis as a result of Morsi's soft approach to the United States and Israel.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL


Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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