Anonymous Iranian Group Unveils Portrait of Sadat’s Assassin
An unknown conservative group in northern Iran unveiled on Sunday a portrait of the assassin of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
A street named after the assassin in Tehran is a key sticking point in Iran-Egypt relations, reported the Iranian official news agency (IRNA).
The group, known as the Followers of (Prophet Mohammad’s cousin) Imam Ali, displayed a giant portrait of Khaled Eslambouli with the caption "I killed the pharaoh of Egypt," said IRNA.
About 70 to 80 people, among them Muslim clerics, were present at the function, witnesses told the agency.
Before the ceremony, Mohammad Kiadehi, a member of the Sari City Council said, "We should not rename the street only for the purpose of normalization of ties with Egypt."
"If we do so, one day for normalization of ties with neighboring Iraq, we will have to agree with conditions set by her on renaming the streets named after martyrs of the (1980-1988 Iraqi-imposed) war," he said, adding, "we should not be affected by the dominating atmosphere."
Last Saturday, another hardline group threatened to take measures if Iranian officials renamed the street in Tehran.
"We will react if the name of martyr Khaled Islambouli is lifted" from the street, the group said.
The actions come nearly one month after an unexpected vote by the Tehran City Council to open an urgent debate on the issue, which has hampered efforts to improve Iran-Egypt ties, cut 22 years ago.
Members of the council were said to have agreed to a proposal to change the name of the street from Khaled Islambouli to either 'Intifada (popular Palestinian uprising) Martyrs' or 'Mohammad Ad Durra,' after a young Palestinian who was shot dead by Israeli troops while huddling beside his father for shelter from bullets in October.
Egyptian officials were also said to have welcomed the decision, calling the move “a positive step.”
Tehran-Cairo ties have significantly warmed since June of last year when President Mohammad Khatami spoke over phone with his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak, the first such conversation by the presidents of the two countries since they broke ties in 1979 after Egypt signed the Camp David peace treaty with Israel.
Relations have since improved, and the two countries now run interest sections through the Swiss embassies in Cairo and Tehran, operated by Iranian and Egyptian diplomats – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)