Egypt and Iran row over peace talk 'betrayal'

By Jennifer Lipman, September 3, 2010
President Hosni Mubarak

President Hosni Mubarak

The Egyptian government has called off a visit by Iran’s foreign minister after he accused President Hosni Mubarak of betraying Arabs by supporting the Middle East peace talks.

Manouchehr Mottaki had been set to visit Cairo for a meeting of the non-aligned movement.

But the discussion has been postponed after Mr Mottaki criticised Arab leaders for their involvement in this week’s Washington negotiations.

He condemned them for following American orders and “building the table of negotiation with heads of the Zionist regime".

Mr Mottaki said: "They should know that they are traitors to the Palestinian people."

President Mubarak attended the summit along with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. Both Egypt and Jordan have signed peace agreements with Israel.

Egypt and Iran have not had official diplomatic ties since the Iranian revolution of 1979, when Egypt sheltered Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.

Earlier this week Mr Mottaki appeared to contradict the views of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has publicly questioned the numbers of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

Asked about human rights by German news magazine Der Spiegel, Mr Mottaki said: “You come from a country that murdered millions of people during a tyrannical war, and you want to talk to me?”

Last updated: 4:05pm, September 3 2010