Either the Iranian regime is lying or Egypt’s new president, Mohammed Morsi, gave an interview that will raise some eyebrows.
Fars News Agency has released a series of articles allegedly quoting Morsi on a range of hot button topics, from the Camp David treaty with Israel to ties between Egypt and Iran. Morsi’s comments, if real, are certainly troubling. But Morsi now says that the FNA, a front for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), simply made the whole interview up.
Morsi’s spokesman says that Morsi “did not give any interview to Fars and everything this agency has published is baseless.”
Let’s hope so. It is certainly not outside the realm of possibility for the Iranians to have fabricated the interview.
Morsi supposedly told FNA that he was in favor of strengthening ties between Iran and Egypt. (An effort that, even if Morsi wants to pursue it, is restrained by Egypt’s military.) “The issue will create a strategic balance in the region,” Morsi reportedly told FNA. “It is part of my agenda” to develop the relationship further, FNA claims Morsi said.
“We will revise the Camp David treaty,” Morsi says in another featured FNA article. While downplaying talk of war with Israel, Morsi says that he and others “will discuss the issue of the Palestinians’ rights with the related sides.”
FNA has a whole series of other posts excerpting the interview Morsi says was invented. In one, Morsi “blasts” the Egyptian military’s decision to dissolve the Islamist-dominated Egyptian parliament. In another, Morsi says talk that his term as president will be limited to one year is unfounded. In still another, the Iranians are keen to highlight Morsi’s supposed dismissal of reports that his first official visit will be to Iran’s rival, Saudi Arabia.
While Morsi’s comments are in dispute, we can presumably trust that the statements made in the name of the Iranian regime are authentic.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran's Armed Forces congratulate the great Egyptian nation on the victory of the first stage of Egypt's revolution in the era of Islamic Awakening,” a statement released to FNA reads.
The Iranians see God’s hand in the election and urge “all Egyptian Armed Forces to welcome this divine blessing with open arms and play their effective role and share in the establishment of unity and building future Egypt based on Islamic foundations, independence and freedom.”
While the Iranians are evidently pleased with Morsi’s election, Morsi's real thoughts on Iran and other key issues remain in dispute.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.