Faras Elias
Iran recently succeeded in making critical diplomatic breakthroughs on the level of Arab-Iranian relations. After years of estrangement and agency wars, Iran has, in the past months, reached a consensual formula by which to end its conflict with Saudi Arabia. Taking advantage of Saudi Arabia’s strategic need to end the war in Yemen and other strategic objectives and, simultaneously, to obtain a “regional truce” to break through to address the internal crises it is experiencing after months of protests in many Iranian cities.
Concerning Egyptian-Iranian relations, it can be said that they are no less complex than Saudi-Iranian relations; more than that, it is a relationship in which nationalism, religion, and civilization overlap; this makes the consensual path between the two parties more complex, as Iran views Egypt as a complex one. On the one hand, it is just as crucial as Persian civilization. On the other hand, it is an Arab national representing a qualitative anti-Persian nationalism; on the other hand, it is a competitive religious situation in the Muslim world, especially about bilateralism. (Qom and Al-Azhar), which makes the context of relations between the two countries face significant challenges, despite the favorable regional and international environment for building more cooperative relations between the two countries at present.
Building on the premise of moving towards a new Iranian consensus with a rival Arab power, Like what happened with Saudi Arabia, it seems out of touch with strategic logic. Relations between Egypt and Iran are essentially based on a state of mistrust. So it can be said that even in the case of compatibility, The relationship will be prone to many tremors, not just because of distrust. But because this relationship is linked to more than one file and at more than one level, Foremost among which is the relationship with Israel, the Palestinian cause, and the security of the Red Sea. And, most importantly, Egypt’s view of Iran’s role in the region.
Undoubtedly, the compromise formula that could result from the Egyptian-Iranian rapprochement is derived from reciprocal strategic needs on both sides; Egypt and Iran are experiencing similar economic conditions. And most importantly, both countries face an unfavorable regional situation. was represented by the rise of new regional roles at the expense of the traditional roles played by both States, Which in turn threatens in case their rapprochement path is unsuccessful by their ability to deal with security arrangements and strategic balances, in which they would not be concentrated. More than that, you might be forced to deal with it based on strategic necessity rather than an active regional role.
Egypt in Iran’s strategic perception
Egypt-Iran relations were one of the most prominent cases of strategic dissonance in the Middle East, and what distinguishes this dissonance is that it is based on multiple dimensions and fields; it made Egypt one of the essential strategic obstacles to Iran’s regional strategy. Besides the national and historical size and the religious centralization of Azhar, Egypt’s political charisma and military weight stand out as strategic determinants in the paths of Egyptian-Iranian competitive relations in the geopolitics of the region, From the time of the Pahlavi family until the present, Egyptian-Iranian relations have settled on the characteristic of instability. Because these relationships are linked to multiple internal and external dynamics, they have reflected negatively and positively on their future and interactions.
In this context, the Iranian Revolution of 1979 introduced competitive relations between Egypt and Iran into a new era. After this revolution, the romantic view of the Iranian past was modified by finding a compromise between the national and religious dimensions of the Iranian identity. Religious nationalism is a revised and balanced version of Iranian identity. So that its nationalism is preserved, but with the addition of an Islamic survey, despite this, the new Iranian nationalism was not without all negative feelings towards Arab nationalism; It is an Iranian trend to entrench the idea that Iran is famous for its place in Islamic civilization. However, this time, there are two essential factors for Iranians to move within the Islamic world: a significant contribution to Islamic culture and its lack of recognition of Arab civilization; That is, not to reduce Islamic civilization to Arab society, which revives the contradictions between being Iranian and Arab; Hence, Iran found its compass of strategic dissonance with Egypt. means it became the main subject of such Iranian sentiment, and even though Egypt had an ancient civilization, It established a State and a social system dating back to the pre-Islamic era. However, it was the center of intellectual and social developments in the Arab world, The fact that there are several political trends in the Arab world, from Arab nationalism to Islam. It first appeared in Egypt and made this country an Arab civilization in the eyes of the Iranians. The fact that Arab nationalism was born and flourished in Egypt has put this country at the epicenter of civilizational conflict with Iran.