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As Gold points out, there is also a history of mutual ideological admiration between Egyptian and Iranian Islamists. But as of Friday, the day Gold’s article was published, there were still reports that—given the obstacles—Morsi might not make the trip to Tehran at all.
We know now that he did, sectarian strife and all. Indeed, this week an Iranian official told Iran’s Fars News Agency that Iran and Egypt could cooperate in the nuclear sphere and “Iran is ready to transfer its know-how and experience to Egypt.”
All this comes at a time when Israel is increasingly concerned about Egyptian military activity in Sinai. Reports say Egypt is still consulting and coordinating with Israel—as per the 1979 Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty—as Egypt cracks down on Salafi terrorists in the peninsula. In an ominous move, though, Egypt has already deployed tanks into northern Sinai without Israeli approval.
Ominous but not surprising, since Morsi—in keeping with the fundamental anti-Israeli, anti-Semitic tenets of Muslim Brotherhood ideology—has let it be known that he sees the peace treaty as something to erode rather than maintain.
It’s too early to speak of Egypt and Iran making friends. Israel, though, has to watch signs of such a process closely. For now the Washington-bound Morsi, still dependent on U.S. aid, is not likely to embrace the mullahs too openly and passionately. Jerusalem, though, does not have illusions about his ultimate ideological commitments and direction. Whether the Obama administration can see through Morsi’s behavior is a different question, not warranting much optimism.
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