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Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 13:40 GMT
Iran and Egypt 'to restore ties'
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki at a press conference in Tehran (28/01/2008)
Mr Mottaki said he was waiting to hear a response from Egypt
Officials in Tehran have announced that Iran is close to restoring full diplomatic relations with Egypt.

Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said that the relationship was "going ahead in a natural way".

The countries have not had full diplomatic ties since the Iranian Islamic revolution in 1979.

The announcement follows a recent thaw in relations, including a landmark phone call between presidents Mubarak and Ahmadinejad last week.

In their first direct talks, the leaders are reported to have discussed the Palestinian issue and other regional concerns.

Mr Mottaki said that Assistant Foreign Minister Ali Asghar Mohammadi had delivered a "special message" to Egypt's Foreign Minister, Ahmad Ali Abu-al-Ghayt.

There was no indication of what the message contained but Mr Mottaki said that Iran was now "waiting for our Egyptian brothers to express their readiness" to establish relations.

The relationship between the countries has been strained for three decades, largely over Egypt's diplomatic ties with Israel, which Iran does not recognise.

Egypt also gave sanctuary to the deposed Iranian Shah following the Islamic revolution.

Egyptian officials told Reuters news agency that some security concerns still needed to be resolved before full relations could be restored.

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