An unknown conservative group in northern Iran has said it would next Sunday unveil a portrait of the assassin of former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat who has a street renamed after him in Tehran, the only sticking point in Iran-Egypt soured ties, reported Iranian official news agency (IRNA)
In a statement faxed to IRNA Thursday, the group known as "Followers of (Prophet Mohammad’s cousin) Imam Ali “called on the people to attend the function to unveil the portrait of Khaled Islambouli.
"In an effort to promote the religious culture and preserving the ideals of the Muslim martyrs in Iran and throughout the world and also in a bid to boost Iran's sovereignty in the international arena, a portrait of the idealist militant Martyr Khaled Islambouli will be portrayed," the statement was quoted by the agency as saying.
On Saturday, another hardline group has threatened to take measures if Iranian officials rename 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 in an unexpected move, Tehran City Council voted 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 Durra', a young Palestinian who was shot dead by the 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 )