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Ahmadinejad told to respect Sunnis on Cairo visit

Published on Feb 6, 2013 6:01 AM
 Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (centre) gestures in front of the shrine of Prophet Mohammed's grandson Hussein ibn Ali at the Al-Hussein mosque, named after the grandson, in old Cairo Feb 5, 2013. Ahmadinejad was both kissed and scolded on Tuesday when he began the first visit to Egypt by an Iranian president since Teheran's 1979 Islamic revolution. The trip was meant to underline a thaw in relations since Egyptians elected an Islamist head of state, President Mohamed Mursi, last June. But it also highlighted deep theological and geopolitical differences. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

CAIRO (AFP) - Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was told not to interfere in the security of Gulf Arab nations and to respect the rights of his country's Sunni minority as he began a landmark visit to Egypt on Tuesday.

Mr Ahmadinejad, the first Iranian president to visit Egypt in more than 30 years, was given a red-carpet welcome by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi but later chided by Egypt's top Sunni cleric.

Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, demanded "the Iranian president respect Bahrain as a brotherly Arab nation, and not interfere in the affairs of Gulf states".

He also denounced what he described as the "spread of Shiism in Sunni lands" and said Mr Ahmadinejad must uphold the rights of his Shi'ite-ruled country's Sunni minority.

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