Iran is seeking stronger ties with Egypt, its traditional rival for power in the Middle East, according to an Associated Press report.
Meanwhile, Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said there is no chance for direct talks with the United States, an suggestion made by Vice President Joe Biden last week, Reuters says. The suggestion comes after it was announced the country would meet with world powers to discuss Iran's controversial nuclear program.
Following are the latest facts on Iranian diplomacy.
Iran hoping to thaw Egyptian relations
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Egypt this week, the first such visit in three decades. During a press conference on Thursday in Cairo, Ahmadinejad said he wanted to create "comprehensive" ties with the country the AP reported, a prospect that could create an alliance that would make Egypt's American ally very uncomfortable.
Ahmadinejad didn't say that Iran would be willing to share nuclear technology with Egypt President Mohammed Morsi, but he did say the two countries could coordinate on science and technology.
Ayatollah says no to direct talks
Biden had suggested it was possible to meet bilaterally on Saturday during a trip to Munich, but Khamenei slapped the idea down.
"Some naive people like the idea of negotiating with America, however, negotiations will not solve the problem," he said, according to Reuters, "If some people want American rule to be established again in Iran, the nation will rise up to face them. American policy in the Middle East has been destroyed and Americans now need to play a new card. That card is dragging Iran into negotiations."
Another AP article released on Thursday indicated that the Ayatollah considered talks to be futile given the existence of sanctions. Further sanctions were put into place this week by the U.S. with the intent of making it harder for the country to get oil revenue. The country has already lost 45 percent of its revenue due to sanctions.
U.S. says all options on the table
State Department Press Secretary Victoria Nuland addressed the bilateral talks offer in a press conference, saying that "as the Iranians well know, the ball is in the Iranians' own court."
Shawn Humphrey is a former contributor to The Flint Journal and an amateur Africanist, focusing his personal studies on human rights and political issues on the continent.
- Politics & Government
- Foreign Policy
- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei