a Mursi aide later said Mursi had given no interview to Fars and his reported comment about resuming relations “has no basis in truth.”
Fars issued a full transcript of what it claimed was its interview with Mursi and also released an audio tape of the interview. Reuters said the voice purported to be that of Mursi “did not sound exactly like him.”
Mursi, 60, is a US-educated engineer and was the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood. He gave a televised address Monday shortly after being declared president. In that address, he said not a word about Iran.
A spokesman for the new presidential office told the official Middle East News Agency, “Mr. Mursi did not give any interview to Fars and everything that this agency has published is without foundation.”
The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported the denial by the presidential office. But two days after it first ran the story, Fars had not retracted it. In fact, it was still touting it. And Fars, which is believed linked to the Pasdaran, assailed IRNA, which is run by the Ahmadi-nejad Administration, for its report on the Egyptians denying there was any interview.
Fars said IRNA was aligned with “antirevolutionary” media for reporting the interview was fake and denying “key and valuable points” in the interview. IRNA counter-responded by publishing what it called a list of “continued gaffes by Fars” including a 2011 interview in Egypt with Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then running for president of Egypt.
Fars had reported that Mursi gave the interview to its correspondent in Cairo on Sunday just hours before Mursi was formerly proclaimed president-elect.
In the television address, he pledged to respect all of Egypt’s international treaties, which would include Egypt’s Camp David treaty with Israel that Iran dislikes immensely. But in the purported interview with Fars, Mursi was quoted as saying, “We will revise the Camp David treaty.”
The Islamic Republic severed diplomatic relations with Egypt three decades ago in response to the signing of the Camp David treaty.
In recent years, Iran has made clear that it wants to re-establish relations and has almost begged President Hosni Mubarak to do so. President Ahmadi-nejad once said he would dispatch an ambassador that very day if Mubarak would agree to restore relations.
After Mubarak was overthrown, there was talk in Cairo of resuming relations, but nothing ever came of it.
Mursi needs to focus intently on domestic challenges that are pouring over his desk. It was thought unlikely that he would like to stir any foreign policy issues when he is fresh on the job. Furthermore, aides have said he wishes to reassure the Western world that is suspicious of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and would be unlikely to take a positive move toward Iran at this time.
Furthermore, many analysts cannot see Mursi giving a nod to Iran when both Turkey and Saudi Arabia are grappling with Iran. To say nice things to Iran now would amount to sticking a thumb in the eyes of both Turkey and Saudi Arabia, something that would gain nothing for Egypt.
Egypt’s professional diplomats want to restore relations because, as professional diplomats, they believe in having relations with everyone so they can deal with everyone. But there is no sign of any public interest in getting closer to Iran.