Wednesday’s papers: Eye on Ahmadinejad

Many newspapers highlight on Wednesday the first visit by an acting Iranian head of state to Egypt in more than three decades.

In Cairo this week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Islamic unity and praised the role of Al-Azhar during a visit to the Sunni religious institution Tuesday, privately owned Al-Shorouk newspaper reports. However, the meeting was not all friendly. The Iranian president reportedly denounced blasphemy against Prophet Mohamed's companions and stated there is no reason for dissonance between religious ideologies after an Al-Azhar cleric accused some Shias of blasphemy. Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb pressed delicate matters between Sunnis and Shias, raising further tensions between the two delegations, the paper cited an anonymous source as saying.

State-run Al-Ahram attributes Ahmadinejad as saying in an interview that spreading Shia doctrine is not part of the country's plan for the region. People are different but should unite under the principles of one god, one prophet and one goal, he is reported as saying. The Iranian leader also expressed enthusiasm about the Islamic summit taking place in Egypt, which he is in Cairo to attend, Al-Ahram writes.

Party mouthpiece the Freedom and Justice newspaper reports that Morsy received Ahmadinejad Tuesday at the Cairo airport and the leaders discussed regional developments and solutions to the ongoing Syrian conflict.

The paper also writes that more than 50 heads of state and high-level government officials are expected to attend the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit that starts Wednesday in the capital.

Liberal party paper Al-Wafd highlights concerns about the potential restoration of Egypt's ties with Iran under the headline "The Morsy-Ahmadinejad summit renews fears about a unity between the Muslim Brotherhood and Tehran." The newspaper adds that renewed relations between the two may cause certain worries among some Gulf and Western countries because of Iran's controversial nuclear program. Any alliance, according to the publication, may prompt Sunni Egyptians to be concerned about the influence of Iran's Shia doctrine.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Kamel Amr says Ahmadinejad was invited to the summit as were all other heads of state from Islamic countries. He describes the talks with Morsy as normal and asserts that the security of the Gulf is as important as Egypt's security and wellbeing, according to Al-Wafd.

Salafis on the other hand express their deep concerns that Egypt is jeopardizing its role as the protector of Sunni countries, the paper reports.  

Independent newspaper Al-Shorouk leads with the use of military and police force against protesters. Under the headline "The army shall not return to the streets," a recently retired military source rejects reports that Morsy requested the Armed Forces to control and stop protesters as "untrue and unrealistic."

The reportedly high-level source says Morsy told military leaders that security is in poor shape and may have ramifications for the economy. Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi values the performance and the morale of the army and cannot allow it to get embroiled in domestic affairs, the paper attributes sources as saying. 

Egypt’s papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Al-Sabah: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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