“Iran FM’s meetings with Arab rivals could signal more moderate regional posture”

“Iran FM’s meetings with Arab rivals could signal more moderate regional posture”
July 17-22, 2009
     Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki met with officials from Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab states at last week’s NAM summit held in Egypt. An Iranian diplomat described the three meetings between the foreign ministers of Iran and Egypt as “positive and cordial”, and analysts believe there may be a thaw in the two states’ tense relations (Daily Star, Canadian Press). Mottaki also met with officials from the Palestinian Authority, who urged Tehran to support the formation of a unity Palestinian government. Although no concrete agreements were reached, Mottaki reportedly responded that Tehran supported Palestinian dialogue and unity (Asharq Alawsat). Israel strongly criticized the PA for meeting with “the most violent and extreme enemies of peace” (BBC).
     Kaveh L. Afrasiabi argues that President Ahmadinejad is trying to “tread the path of moderation” in the region’s politics, adding that in recent speeches, Ahmadinejad has called for “constructive engagement” with other states. Afrasiabi also cites Ahmadinejad’s appointment of Ali Akbar Salehi as head of Iran’s nuclear agency [previously covered here] and promotion of Efsandiar Rahim Mashaie, who previously created controversy for saying Iran was a “friend of the Israeli people”, as first vice president despite strong opposition from conservative leaders (Asia Times Online). However, other analysts doubt that Tehran will withdraw its backing of Hamas or otherwise support the Israeli-Palestine peace process, calling Tehran’s position on the Palestinian issue “immovable” (Trend News).
Daily Star | Canadian Press | Asharq Alawsat | BBC | Asia Times Online | Trend News

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