Comment
0
Tweet
0
Print
RSS Feeds

Egypt denies hardliners halted Iran tourism

Wednesday - 4/10/2013, 2:10pm  ET

Egyptian protesters try to destroy the gate at the residence of Iran’s top diplomat in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, April 5, 2013. The protest was sparked after Iranian tourists arrived in Egypt this week on the first commercial flights between the two countries in 30 years. Arabic reads,"we will not let Shiites step in Egypt." (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's presidential spokesman says tourist flights from Iran were not suspended because of pressure from "any particular groups."

Ehab Fahmy's comments come after an outcry by hardline Sunni Muslims, known as Salafis, who were angered by the Egyptian government's push to improve ties with Shiite Iran.

The spokesman did not explain why the flights were suspended until June.

Speaking to reporters in Cairo on Wednesday, he said Egypt's first concern with Iranian tourists is ensuring that their visits do not affect the country's sovereignty.

"Egypt is Sunni and will remain a Sunni bastion of moderation and centrism in Islam," he said, referring to concerns by some Salafis that the Iran aims to spread its practices among Sunni Muslims.

He added that President Mohammed Morsi does not make decisions under pressure.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.