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Iran: Tehran City Council approves renaming controversial street

The Tehran City Council on Tuesday agreed to rename the Khaled Islambouli street, called after the assassin of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, to Intifada (uprising) of the Palestinians in the occupied lands, IRNA reported.

The decision came on the request of Foreign Ministry on Monday, a day after Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Maher described the Camp David peace accord between Cairo and Tel Aviv, which has irked Iran, as a thing of ancient history.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Asefi, who attended the council session, said, "The changing of the street name has taken place on the basis of the new atmosphere, created between Iran and Egypt."

"This decision is a step in line with the principle of detente and trust-building among world countries, especially the Islamic states," he added.

Asefi said Tehran has taken the decision "on the basis of the Islamic Republic's dignity, wisdom and expedience".

The decision also follows last month remarks of President Mohammad Khatami who hoped negotiations held between him and his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak in Geneva recently would put an end to years of estrangement.

"Both Iranian and Egyptian officials are determined and willing to remove obstacles on the way (of rapprochement). I hope the negotiations will bear favorable fruits," Khatami said after returning home.

Khatami and Mubarak met in Geneva in December, on the sidelines of a UN technology summit. Iran said later it had invited the Egyptian president to attend a summit of eight developing Islamic countries (D-8) in Tehran in February.

Tehran and Cairo first broke the ice in June 2000 after President Khatami spoke over phone with Mubarak in the first such conversation by the presidents of the two countries.

The former Tehran City Council, led mostly by advocates of political reform, once took an unusual initiative of changing the name of the street. But, the move was put on freeze later, in the wake of serious political wrangling among rival factions and demonstrations of certain groups.

The Islamic Republic severed its ties with Egypt after its former President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David peace accord with the Zionist regime and harbored defunct Shah.

Speaking to IRNA in Cairo Monday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Maher said that the Camp David accord "does not exist anymore and is merely a thing of the past".

"There have been many changes and I believe that this case between Iran and Egypt has already been closed... What matters now is the interest of Iran and Egypt to work with each other."

He said, "Iran and Egypt are now preparing the ground to cement their relations, and these efforts must continue."

Maher, whose country is regarded one of the close states to Israel in the Arab and Islamic world, even added voice to Tehran's grievances about the Israeli weapons of mass destruction, saying the Zionist regime "should not be allowed to challenge the world as regards its nuclear activities".

Iran and Egypt now run interest sections through foreign embassies in Cairo and Tehran, operated by Iranian and Egyptian diplomats.

Iran-Egypt ties to secure regional balance
Cairo, Jan 6, IRNA -- Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Egyptian Parliament Mostafa el-Feki said on Tuesday that the speedy resumption of mutual relations between Iran and Egypt will provide balance in the Middle East region.

Speaking to IRNA reporter, he said that the two states are determined to ignore the past and look forward to a fruitful future relation.

Assessing President Mohammad Khatami's meeting with President Hosni Mubarak in Geneva as a new positive step to this end, he said that their negotiations opened up a bright and promising prospect for bilateral ties.

Turning to the commonalties between the two countries and nations and their close relations in the course of history, he expressed the will of the majority of Egyptian people and politicians to establish relations with the Iranian government.

El-Feki said, "The early resumption of bilateral relations will leave its impact on the Middle East region by providing balance. "Egypt has long been looking forward to resumption of diplomatic ties with Iran, which has friendly relations with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states."

Pointing to the Egyptian people's awareness of Iran's good reputation and their positive approach towards it, he voiced his expectation that Iranians would have a similar attitude towards his countrymen.

"Establishment of ties between Iran and Egypt will benefit all the concerned parties including Palestinians, Iraqis and the entire region," he added.

This can effectively contribute to promotion of international peace and stability of the region.

El-Feki noted that despite the absence of diplomatic ties between the two states, they have been cooperating in cultural and economic fields.

The official also referred to the joint interests of Iran and Egypt within the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna and Iran's participation in the Cairo International Population Conference and added that mutual diplomatic ties will encourage the two countries to be more keen and serious on joint undertakings.

... Payvand News - 1/6/04 ... --

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