Closer Commercial Ties Could Help Mend Tehran-Cairo Fences
An Egyptian trade fair currently being held in Tehran will improve economic and political relations between Egypt and Iran, said the head of the Egyptian delegation on Saturday.
"The promotion of trade, cultural, art and sports ties will certainly lead to the improvement of positive objectives of the two countries in the political field," said Mostafa Al Kheshen, according to the official Iranian news agency (IRNA).
Egypt inaugurated the exclusive trade fair in Iran on Wednesday, the first such event since the two countries severed their relations 22 years ago. Egypt also participated in the Tehran International Trade Fair last year.
The six-day exhibition involves 27 companies promoting handicrafts, textiles and industrial products.
Iran held two specialized trade fairs in Egypt in 1999 and 2000.
Kheshen, said IRNA, had expressed his displeasure over the way bilateral ties had been severed after Cairo signed a peace treaty with Israel.
Tehran-Cairo relations started to take off after Iranian President Mohammad Khatami took office in Iran in 1997.
Earlier this year, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi met Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo on the sidelines of a developing nations summit.
The two countries, however, have a long way ahead to go before diplomatic relations can be resumed.
Several issues have been sticking points, one of them the name of a street which honors the assassin of late Egyptian president Anwar Sadat.
Last month, Tehran's City Council agreed to an urgent debate on changing the name of the street, which has strained Iranian-Egyptian relations.
The council said it wanted to rename Khaled Eslambouli Street either for the "martyrs of the Intifada", the Palestinian uprising, or Mohammad Ad Dorra, the Palestinian boy whose killing last year by Israeli troops shocked the world.
Cairo has said that the street name is a barrier to restoring full diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Tehran Mayor Morteza Alviri earlier said he welcomed a change of name, as controversial names could "cause annoyance for the two countries."
Islambouli gunned down Sadat during a military parade in 1981 after Egypt became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel.
Amr Moussa, then Egypt's foreign minister, said in February that there was "no valid reason" why the two nations should not have full ties, but stopped short of calling for a total resumption of relations – Albawaba.com
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