World Bulletin / News Desk
Egypt's Islamist President-elect Mohammed Morsy said in an interview with Iran's Fars news agency published on Monday that he wanted to expand ties with Tehran to create a strategic balance in the region.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been severed for more than 30 years, but both sides have signalled a shift in policy since former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown last year in a popular uprising.
Fars quoted Morsy as saying better relations with Tehran "will create a balance of pressure in the region, and this is part of my programme".
Morsy's comments may unsettle Western powers as they seek to isolate Iran over its disputed nuclear programme, which they suspect Tehran is using to build atomic bombs. They cautiously welcomed the democratic process that led to Morsy's election, but made clear Egypt's stability was their main priority.
Fars said he was speaking a few hours before the result of the Egyptian election was announced on Sunday, and that a full version of the interview would be published later.
Asked to comment on reports that, if elected, his first state visit would be to Saudi Arabia, Morsy said: "I didn't say such a thing and until now my first international visits following my victory in the elections have not been determined".
Egypt's foreign minister said last year that Cairo was ready to re-establish diplomatic relations with Iran, which has championed most Arab Spring uprisings as anti-Western rebellions inspired by its own Islamic Revolution in 1979.
Supporters of firebrand Shia cleric demand government of ‘technocrats’ untainted by corruption, sectarianism
'Two car bombs went off in town. The first one was at around midday near a bus station in the city centre,' police says
Order comes day after supporters of Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr stormed Baghdad’s Green Zone and temporarily occupied parliament building
Military claims its forces pre-empted planned attack on army base in Borno State
US presidential candidates were butt of Obama's jokes at White House Correspondents' Dinner
Leader of Crimean Tatars slams Russian 'aggression', urges expansion of Western sanctions
Rapid restoration of order is in interest of Iraqi people, foreign policy chief says
'No one has any business trading in ivory,' Kenyan president says
The banning of the Palestinian flag at the Eurovision contest has sparked outrage with the PLO demanding an apology from the contest organisers
A military plane has crashed in Sudan killing all crew on board
Russia's military exercises near the Baltics has made NATO nervous, forcing the deployment of 4,000 troops to the region
After threatening Sweden, Russia has warned Finland that it would risk a serious crisis if it joins the NATO circle
Hundreds of supporters of Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed Baghdad's Green Zone on Saturday and entered the parliament building
With two soldiers killed in Ukraine in fresh fighting, tension has risen with NATO feeling the need for a Cold War-style hotlines with Moscow to avoid clashes
A satellite phone call to an Italian cargo ship resulted in the rescue of 26 refugees
A UN expert has called on the government of El Salvador to develop and implement a wide range of initiatives to protect the victims of modern forms of slavery