In an interview that won't sit well with leaders in Israel, Egypt's president-elect Mohammed Mursi says he wants to build closer ties with Iran and will "reconsider" the 1979 Camp David Accord that has kept the peace between his country and Israel for more than 30 years. That legendary peace deal also led to the end of formal diplomatic relations between Egypt and Iran, but Mursi's comments to Iran's FARS new agency suggest a willingness to reopen those ties as he seeks to "create a strategic balance in the region." Iran's foreign ministry offered congratulations to Mursi, but did not mention a resumption of diplomatic ties.
Officially, Israeli has expressed support for Mursi and his election saying they expect "continued cooperation" with the new regime, with one Israeli official predicting that the pressure of governing will neutralize the more hard-line Islamist agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood.
However, a stronger alliance between two of its largest Middle East rivals, can't be comforting for Israelis. Many Palestinians living under Israeli rule (who also receive some support from Iran) also believe the election of Mursi will help their cause. The new-found friendliness also comes at a time when the United States and the rest of the world are trying to isolate Iran in an effort to shut down its nuclear energy program, though any aid Egypt receives from the U.S. (which is considerable) would depend on continuing the Camp David agreement.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.