by Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Some states pressure Egypt not to establish relations with Iran, but after the Egyptian uprising, Egypt does not accept dictations, Ambassador Mojtaba Amani, head of the Iranian Interests Office in Cairo, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview Sunday.
"Egypt and Iran need to take further steps to normalize ties in the future," Amani said, stressing that the non-completion of all Egyptian revolutionary institutions was the reason that Egypt was reluctant to establish full relations with Iran.
"Iran doesn't have any problems or obstacles in this regard, but the Egyptian side has some reservations," he added.
Amani told Xinhua that the first visit of Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi to Tehran was not for Egyptian-Iranian talks but for the Non-aligned Movements (NAM) conference, and also Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's upcoming first visit to Cairo would be for attending an Islamic summit, "yet these are still considered important steps."
Commenting on the recent visit of Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi to Cairo, Amani said that "Salehi's visit to Cairo was meant for tete-a-tete meetings for the first time in decades, since the relations were cut off."
The relations between Egypt and Iran were cut off for over three decades after Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, but both states got a little closer after last year's uprising that toppled the former regime of Hosni Mubarak.
Although Iran does not have an embassy in Cairo, nor does Egypt in Tehran, Amani said the Egyptian-Iranian relations are still present through both offices of interests.
"Both countries agreed in 1991 that the chairpersons of their interest offices in Cairo and Tehran must be at the level of ambassadors and our work is not less than those of embassies," he explained.
Egypt and Iran have different positions on the Syrian crisis, yet they both reject foreign interference in Syria.
"I believe difference of opinions or views on regional and international issues is not interrelated with establishment of relations. On the contrary, building relations resolves these differences and bring views closer," Amani commented.
Amani ruled out the claims that Egypt was reluctant to normalize ties with Iran due to Iran's issues with some Gulf and Western states, whose support was needed to rescue Egypt's deteriorating economy.
He expressed belief that "the Egyptian foreign policy moves towards rebelling against the United States and others who want to shape Egypt's policies through their financial aids."
Elaborating on the Syrian issue, the Iranian ambassador said that "the United States interfere in the affairs of every place in the world, causing turmoil, violence and destruction, as in Afghanistan, Iraq and now in Syria."
He added that Iran welcomed international efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis, particularly from a big country like China, which has a regional and international influence, in addition its presence at the UN Security Council.
"Iran, China and Russia announced rejection of foreign interference in Syria. Egypt and other states empowered this voice by their same position. The louder this voice gets, the more Syria is rescued from more deterioration," Amani said.
The Iranian diplomat added that the positions of China and Russia gave hope to find an internal Syrian solution to resolve the issue.
"Our role is only to help them reach a solution which is satisfactory for both sides," he noted.
Amani attributed the Syrian issue to "an American-Zionist plot represented in the 'creative chaos' project which former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talked about, urging fighting against anti-Western countries."
He said that Iran rejected financing the opposition in Syria or providing them with arms, urging more political participation from big countries like China and Russia to find a peaceful solution for the conflict in Syria.
Amani praised the effort of the quartet group on Syria, composed of Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, referring to Saudi Arabia's withdrawal as "temporarily," and recommending involving other neutral states as Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia to find a peaceful political solution for the Syrian issue.