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Egypt president to visit Iran, a first in decades



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A new understanding with Iran would be a big shake-up for a region that has been split between Tehran’s camp — which includes Syria and Islamic militias Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza — and a U.S.-backed group led by Saudi Arabia and rich Gulf nations.

To add another level of complexity, there is also the fact that Islamic militant group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian enclave in the Gaza strip to the frustration of neighboring Israel, is a historical offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, the dominant force in Egyptian politics since Morsi’s election.

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Aware of the Gulf states’ anxieties over the rise of political Islam in post-Mubarak Egypt, Morsi has focused on courting Saudi Arabia. He visited it twice, once just after he won the presidency, and a second time during the Islamic summit. In an attempt to assuage fears of the Arab uprisings by oil monarchs, he vowed that Egypt does not want to "export its revolution". He has also asserted commitment to the security of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies, a thinly veiled reference to the tension between them and Iran.




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