Iran’s Supreme Leader Extends Welcome to the Restoration of Ties with Egypt

In a significant development, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has expressed his “welcome” for the restoration of full diplomatic relations between Egypt and the Islamic Republic, potentially paving the way for the normalization of ties between Cairo and Tehran after years of strained relations. Khamenei’s remarks came during a meeting with Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman, who is currently visiting Tehran as a mediator between Iran and the West.

Simultaneously, a series of websites associated with Iran’s presidency displayed images of two leaders from an exiled opposition group, while others showed crossed-out pictures of Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi. Although these developments are unfolding, they do not appear to be directly linked to Khamenei’s statement regarding Egypt.

The visit of Sultan Haitham to Tehran holds significance, as Oman has long served as an intermediary between Iran and the West. This visit marks Sultan Haitham’s first trip to Tehran since assuming power in 2020.

The potential restoration of ties between Egypt and Iran gains traction amid the recent Saudi Arabia-Iran détente brokered by China in March, ending years of tensions between the regional powers. Cairo has traditionally relied on economic support from Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Gulf Arab states.

Khamenei reportedly stated, “We welcome this issue and have no problem in this regard,” in response to the potential restoration of relations with Egypt. However, there has been no immediate reaction from Egyptian officials regarding Khamenei’s comments.

Egypt severed diplomatic ties with Iran after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, primarily due to Anwar Sadat’s close friendship with the deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Sadat’s welcoming of the Shah to Egypt shortly before his death and hosting of his state funeral in 1980 strained relations further. Additionally, Egypt’s peace deal with Israel further alienated Iran’s theocratic government, as they consider Israel their top regional adversary.

In an unrelated development, a group of hackers claiming to be called GhyamSarnegouni has taken responsibility for defacing websites associated with Iran’s presidency. This comes after the same group claimed responsibility for hacking Iran’s Foreign Ministry websites earlier this month. The defaced websites displayed images of Massoud Rajavi, the leader of the Iranian exile group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, and his wife Maryam, who currently represents the group publicly. The group had previously targeted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Ebrahim Raisi in a similar manner during a previous hack in May.

It is worth noting that Iran has experienced several high-profile hacking incidents amidst escalating tensions surrounding its advancing nuclear program. Previous incidents include targeting Iranian state television signals, cyberattacks on subsidized fuel pumps, and the release of government surveillance camera footage, including from a notorious prison.

The Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), a Marxist group that opposed the rule of the shah, has been associated with the recent hack, although they have not explicitly claimed responsibility. The MEK had strongly condemned the recent prisoner swap between Belgium and Iran, which led to the release of an Iranian diplomat convicted of planning a bomb plot against the group.

Initially supporting the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the MEK later turned against Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and carried out a series of assassinations and bombings in Iran. Eventually fleeing to Iraq, the group aligned with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, causing widespread opposition in Iran. While predominantly based in Albania today, the MEK claims to maintain a network inside



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