Tuesday, February 5, 2013
But despite diplomatic niceties, this is no massive geopolitical shift. The Iranian Preaident is getting lectured about Syria by both Morsi and the Sheikh al-Azhar, warned against adventurism in the Gulf, and told not to try to spread Shi‘ism in the Arab world. (It hasn't been reported whether Ahmadinejad has brought up the plight of Egypt's small Shi‘ite population.)
Meanwhile Morsi is getting flak from the Salafis, who apparently consider any fraternization with a known Shi‘ite to be beyond the pale.
And let's not make too much of this "breakthrough": Ahmadinejad is there for an Islamic Summit Egypt is hosting, so it's not exactly Nixon going to China. And of course, he's term-limited, will be leaving office later this year, and has been engaged in a running battle with the Iranian Parliament, so he's not exactly dealing from a position of strength. (But then, of course, neither is Morsi.)
As a reminder of better times in Egyptian-Iranian relations: here's a 1939 photo of King Farouq with then-Iranian Crown Prince (later Shah) Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, visiting the Delta prior to the future Shah's marriage to the King's sister.
Then again, the Shah later divorced her.