Shafiq on Iran: Why can’t we be friends?

If elected, presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq said he would not object to restoring relations with Iran.

"If Iran doesn't seek to spread the Shia sect in Egypt, why shouldn't we be friends?," the former prime minister said in an interview with Saudi satellite channel Al-Arabiya Tuesday. 

Shafiq clarified that Egypt has no relation to Iran's controversial nuclear program. 

"All the region should be free of nuclear weapons," he said, adding that he would develop a peaceful nuclear program should he win the presidential runoff scheduled for Saturday and Sunday against the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsy.

Speaking about foreign relations, Shafiq said that as president he would turn to non-American sources for aid, such as Arab countries, with Saudi Arabia at the top of the list. He also said he does not have a specific stance toward Qatar, but would try to establish good relations with the Gulf country.

Shafiq told Al-Arabiya that Egypt needs security and that the revolution was supported by 80 million Egyptians, not just those who took to Tahrir Square. His campaign has often played on security fears to cast him as the candidate who can bring stability.

He reiterated that he would make his first official state visit to the US for many reasons, saying the country plays a great role that cannot be denied and citing more than four decades of relations with Egypt.

Shafiq also called on Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah to unite, saying Egypt cannot support one at the expense of the other. He described ongoing violence in Syria's uprising as horrible and blamed the Syrian administration for the bloodshed.

"In the event that protests are staged against my victory, I will apply the law," he concluded, saying that in Western countries protests don't hamper normal life.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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