Egypt denies visas to Gaza-bound Iranian MPs

Tehran–Egypt has denied visas to four Iranian lawmakers who planned to travel to the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, Iran’s Press TV reported on Wednesday.

“The Egyptian government has stonewalled the visa process… no visa has been issued for the MPs as of yet,” Mahmoud Ahmadi Bighash, one of the four lawmakers, was quoted as saying by the English-language television’s website.

The other three lawmakers were Evaz Heydarpour, Parviz Sarouri and Shobayb Jouyjari. They were due to leave for the densely populated, impoverished Palestinian enclave on Tuesday.

On July 21, Mehr news agency reported that the four would enter Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.

In June, the Iranian Red Crescent said it was planning to send an aid ship to Gaza but later cancelled the voyage, blaming restrictions imposed by Israel and Egypt.

Iran announced it intended to send an aid ship after a 31 May Israeli commando raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla left nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists dead and sparked international outrage.

The Islamic republic does not recognize Israel, and tensions have worsened between the two countries under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has repeatedly said the Jewish state is doomed to disappear.

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