Ties between Tehran and Cairo will improve, says Iranian diplomat

Tehran-Cairo cooperation should expand due to better relations, Iran's IAEA envoy Ali-Asghar Soltanieh said on Saturday.

Speaking from Vienna to Egyptian TV, Soltanieh said that he hopes ties between the two countries will improve.

Ties between the predominantly Sunni Egypt and mostly Shia Iran were severed in 1979 following Iran's Islamic revolution and the signing of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

Under former president Hosni Mubarak, a close ally of the US who regularly met top Israeli officials, Iran and Egypt sparred for influence in the Middle East.

But relations between the two countries have improved since the popular uprising that toppled Mubarak on 11 February.

Soltanieh also told Egypt state TV that after eight years of IAEA inspections, no evidence was found to prove Iran is building nuclear weapons, as claimed by the US.

He said that when Mohamed ElBaradei was IAEA Chief, the same claims were raised.

On Friday, the US and its Western allies bluntly accused Iran of deceiving the world by trying to hide work on nuclear arms, and the UN atomic agency passed a new resolution criticizing Tehran's nuclear defiance.

Iran, however, shot back by announcing that its army would conduct a four-day training exercise to test its defenses, state TV reported on Saturday.

Press TV said the war games started on Friday and were taking place over 800,000 square km in the east of the country.

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