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FM defends Iran’s unilateral decision to waive visa requirements for visiting Egyptians

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

In an extensive interview with Mashregh News, Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was asked about ongoing domestic criticism regarding the unilateral measures taken to improve ties between Iran and Egypt. Iran waived visa requirements for Egyptian tourists, while Egypt has not reciprocated: Egypt announced that Iranians in Egypt would be subject to restrictions while visiting Cairo and would be prevented from visiting Shiite shrines. The interviewer questioned the motives behind such a move that “puts our dignity in question.” Salehi responded saying, “The problem here (in Iran) is that we don’t understand what dignity is. When someone smiles and behaves ethically and with good manners… we say that this person is weak. But if someone comes and uses violent language, we say, ‘wow, this person is powerful.’ In foreign policy we don’t define power and dignity like this. We define power and dignity through national expediency, national interests and political independence.” Salehi went on to say that “other than governments, we also talk to people. Which one is more lasting? Governments or nations? Certainly nations… We spoke to the people and told them that we don’t have a problem with you, and you are welcome to visit… Allowing people to visit Iran can help counter the propaganda against Iran.” The Foreign Minister referred to the American wrestlers that recently visited Iran, and their experiences were “different” from what they had been told to expect. He said that having more people visit Iran can help spread the “message of how cultured and civilized” Iran is. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, said in this regard that Egyptian-Iranian relations are at their best and that Iran had no agenda to administer Egyptian mosques, deeming accusations heaped on Tehran in this regard as “provocative” and “inciting some parties against Iran…”

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  • Published: 108 days ago on Tuesday, 2 April 2013
  • By: Iran Daily Brief
  • Last Modified: April 2, 2013 @ 11:58 am
  • Filed Under: International
  • Tagged with:
  • Source(s):
    • http://tinyurl.com/cbbdjg5; http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/iranian-senior-diplomat-reiterates-support-egypt

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