The process of normalization between Iran and Egypt can open a new chapter of regional integration, spur economic cooperation, and deter foreign powers from interfering in the region’s affairs, says a political and security analyst.
Atheer Alshara made these remarks in an interview with the Press TV website, referring to efforts mediated by Oman to help Iran and Egypt bury the hatchet and restore diplomatic ties.
He said the potential Iran-Egypt normalization coming on the back of the Iran-Saudi rapprochement would allow countries in the region to breathe a sigh of relief after a period of relatively high tensions.
“Any potential agreement could further encourage regional convergence and limit the space for interventions by trans-regional powers in the region,” the Iraqi analyst noted.
Alshara said the recent diplomacy drive in the region and potential rapprochement between Iran and Egypt are rooted in “geopolitical considerations” by regional leaders and the economic challenges faced by regional countries.
“Now leaders (in the region) feel it’s strategically necessary to get closer to each other and to establish relations between Iran and Persian Gulf states and Egypt,” he asserted.
He further stated that Iran believes better ties with Egypt can empower regional nations to stand up to foreign powers and prevent them from intervening in the region’s affairs.
“From Iran’s standpoint, Egypt can play a big role in changing the geopolitical conditions of the region, which has witnessed numerous interventions by external powers,” he told the Press TV website.
“The priority of this strategy is to diminish the influence of foreigners, especially America and the UK. This needs coordination between regional nations.”
Alshara said improved relations between Iran and Egypt can also pose a challenge to Israel and its interventions in the internal affairs of Syria, Palestine and Lebanon, and even Jordan and Iraq.
The normalization of ties between the two countries, he noted, will also help Iran in its resistance against the Western pressure campaign, and allow the country to continue negotiations “from a position of strength” aimed at the revival of the 2015 nuclear accord.
On what has prompted Egypt to get closer to Tehran, he said Tehran is now a great power in the region that is openly opposed to foreign interventions in the region, and “these factors prompt countries to seek relations based on respect with the country.”
“All countries in the region have come to the conclusion that Iran can defend states in the Persian Gulf and other regions who are worried over foreign interference,” Alshara stated.
Egyptian leaders have realized that it’s time to resume interaction with Iran, the Iraqi analyst said.
“That’s because unlike the US and UK, Iran is an inseparable part of the region and it has natural common interests with other countries in West Asia. Certainly, better relations with Iran can have a more positive impact on the region in the long run,” he stressed.
Another factor pushing Cairo to seek normalization with Iran is Egypt’s reliance on financial aid provided by Persian Gulf states.
“These Persian Gulf states have moved towards detente with Tehran, so taking that into account, Egypt would be more inclined to follow their suit and befriend Iran,” Alshara remarked.
The analyst said Egypt has over the past years generally avoided the path of confrontation with Tehran, and this makes it easier for the two countries to move towards rapprochement.
However, he noted that Egypt is now acting cautiously towards Tehran and does not appear to be in a rush to normalize with the country, saying several reasons might be behind this.
“It might be the case that Egypt seeks to gradually improve ties with Iran to avoid creating a perception that Egypt welcomes Iran’s interventions in the affairs of Arab countries. Cairo might also be worried that rushing to engage with Iran would negatively impact its relations with the Israeli regime,” Alshara said.
Nonetheless, he said that at the end of the day, Egypt is “deeply willing” to end hostility with Tehran, viewing the country as a “leading power that is willing to stand against interventions in the region’s affairs and the plundering of the region’s resources by foreigners.”
“The bases of the US in the region are still active and Washington says it’s not going to exit Iraq and Syria. In this situation, closer ties between Iran and Egypt can help create a better balance between regional powers and external powers active in the region,” the Iraqi analyst stated.