The Egyptian foreign ministry said on Tuesday it had summoned Iran’s chargé d’affaires to protest meetings between members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian diplomats.
Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelati told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Foreign Ministry summoned chargé d’affaires Mojtaba Amani and insisted that members of his mission adhere to diplomatic principles.
Addelati did not give any further details of the meeting, which took place at the office of the assistant foreign minister for Asian affairs, or if any specific incidents were raised by Egyptian officials.
Egyptian security sources speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity said that Egyptian authorities recently noticed an increase in contacts between Iranian diplomats and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt designated a terrorist organization in December.
The sources added that the Egyptian authorities had intercepted communications between Iranian diplomats in Cairo and members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and this communication was considered interference in Egypt’s domestic affairs.
The security sources claimed that Iranian diplomats had recently begun holding meetings with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and extremist Islamists who supported Mursi, in Cairo and elsewhere.
The chargé d’affaires, Mojtaba Amani, played down the media attention to the issue of his visit to the Foreign Ministry, saying it was cordial and that it was part of regular meetings to discuss cooperation between the two countries.
High-level diplomatic relations between Egypt and Iran have been suspended for the last 33 years, despite a visit by former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Cairo in February 2013, during the administration of former president Mohamed Mursi.
Among the sources of friction between the two countries was the naming of a street in Tehran after one of the assassins of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, Khaled Islambouli, in 1981. Relations had weakened when Sadat signed a peace treaty with Israel and granted Iran’s exiled shah asylum in Egypt.
In 2011, Egypt expelled a political counselor at Iran’s embassy in Cairo, accusing him of espionage after he was observed at meetings with Egyptians in Cairo, Sinai and Aswan.