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Iran's Threats Towards Egypt - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It was Egypt’s turn this week [to face off with Iran] in the context of appraising Iranian strength; the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Sheikh Al Islam threatened Egypt if they allowed the People’s Mujahedin of Iran [Mujahedin Khalq Organization or MKO] entry into the country. Tehran has previously described Bahrain as a province of Iran, and promoted [internal] division in four Arab countries.

It would be Iran’s right to be angry with Egypt [if they grant the MKO sanctuary] even if its relationship with Cairo was on good terms; however the political reality between these two countries is at its lowest ebb. The Iranians had announced the allocation of a financial prize for the assassination of President Hosni Mubarak [subsequently denied by the Iranian government]; Iran also celebrated the death of former Egyptian President Anwar Al Sadat, and launched a [media] campaign against Egypt during the recent Gaza War. And now Iran is threatening Egypt if they allow the MKO entry into the country, while previously the MKO were stationed in Iraqi camps close to Iran’s borders, yet Tehran did not risk raising its hand against them [at that time].

Despite the big talk and the hostile provocations from the Iranians, the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minster believes that it is the Egyptians who have committed many of the mistakes against it, and so will not allow this challenge [of granting the MKO sanctuary] to pass unanswered. Realistically, Egypt has done nothing against the Iranian regime in the past thirty years, ever since the Egyptian government granted the burial of the Shah [on Egyptian soil, along with a state funeral]. On the contrary Iran is the real catalyst for the internal and external hostile activities against Cairo and those affiliated to the Egyptian bloc, such as the Gulf States and Jordan. And these countries have become like an Iranian punching bag, being hit without responding.

Although I have yet to hear any [official] talk from the Egyptians authorizing the MKO’s entry into Egypt, the pretext of this threat, and the public announcement of such [threatening] attitudes in official Iranian statements is cause for concern, especially as these threats have increased since Barack Obama came to office. This enhances the suspicion that Iran is deliberately compounding the problems [in the region] in order to impose its own conditions and put itself forward as a policeman for the region.

What is happening in Iran is similarly shocking, for important members of Al Qaeda that were implicated in the Riyadh bombings continue to reside in Iran, and Iran refuses to hand them over or divulge information about their activities. While some of those sought in Iraq are similarly residing within Iran, while all that Iran have done to reassure Iraq and the USA is to say that it does not allow them to participate in hostile activities on Iranian soil. And so Saudi Arabian terrorists who appear in the news live on Iranian soil as free men, and Iran has refused to hand them over until now. Iran has acted like this for decades, threatening neighbors, protecting terrorists, supporting militants, and aiding dissidents, throughout the Arab world.

Bearing all of this in mind, how can the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister threaten Egypt for allowing [members of] the MKO entry onto its soil? This serves only to confirm the danger of the Iranian ideology which is hard at work building a nuclear weapon, and [implementing] its political plan which threatens the countries of the region.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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