President Morsi has become the first Egyptian president to visit Iran in over 30 years.
Egyptian President, Mohammad Morsi, has denounced the Syrian regime, led by President Bashar Assad, as ‘oppressive,’ and called for support for the opposition.
Mr. Morsi stated this in Tehran, the Iranian capital, on Thursday, during his handover speech at the Non-Aligned Movement summit. Egypt handed the rotational presidency of the Movement to Iran at the ongoing summit billed to end on Friday.
“Our solidarity with the struggle of the Syrian people against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty as it is a political and strategic necessity.” Mr. Morsi said.
The Egyptian President compared the Syrian uprising to the Palestinians fight for statehood and total independence from Israel, saying both were “actively seeking freedom, dignity and human justice.”
Last week, Mr. Morsi spoke of forming a contact group, to resolve the crisis in Syria, comprising Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey; an initiative the Iranian leadership is keen to pursue.
The Syrian delegation at the summit reportedly walked out during Mr. Morsi’s speech.
Thousands of people have been killed in Syria as opposition fighters try to dislodge the regime of Mr. Assad.
First in 33 years
The Egyptian leader arrived, who arrived in Tehran on Thursday, is the first Egyptian leader to visit Iran since the latter’s Islamic revolution in 1979.
Iranian state television broadcast live pictures of Mr. Morsi’s red-carpet welcome at Tehran’s Mehrabad airport.
Diplomatic relations between Cairo and Tehran broke down immediately after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. Iran accused Egypt of supporting the overthrown Shah and of having a peace agreement with Israel.
As president, Mr. Morsi has so far refused to address the issue of whether ties would be upgraded with Iran, but has indicated he would pursue a more balanced foreign policy.
Analysts say the Egyptian president’s brief visit is designed to avoid any snub of Iran, but improving relations with Tehran in the near future would send the wrong message to the U. S. and Israel.