Iran Slams Egypt's Morsi Over Remarks on Syria

Morsi said at the opening ceremony of the Non-Aligned Movement summit that'solidarity with the Syrian people' against Assad 'a moral obligation.'

Iran on Friday criticized Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi over his remarks on Syria at the Non-Aligned Movement summit, saying he did not have "the necessary political maturity."

Morsi said at the opening ceremony Thursday that "solidarity with the Syrian people against an oppressive regime that lost its legitimacy is a moral obligation.

Hossein Sheikholeslam, the Iranian Parliament's Middle East advisor, said: "Unfortunately Mr Morsi did not have the necessary political maturity to lead a NAM summit."

Sheikholeslam told the Mehr news agency, "He committed a big mistake by availing himself of his position (as NAM president) and expressing the standpoints of Egypt while ignoring all NAM principles."

Sheikholeslam, a former deputy foreign minister, was not only the first Iranian official to criticize Morsi but also the first who acknowledged that he made those remarks.

Morsi's address also led to another embarrassment for NAM host Iran as the Syrian delegation walked out during his speech.

Iranian state media did not report the anti-Syria parts of Morsi's speech or the walk out by the Syrian delegation.Iran had pinned high hopes on Morsi's visit - the first by an Egyptian head of state in more than 30 years. The two countries have had no formal diplomatic ties since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution because of Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

Tehran had not only hoped to resume full diplomatic relations after Morsi became president, but also, as a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad, attract Cairo as an ally to keep the Syrian regime in power.

Mohammed Morsi - Reuters - 30.8.2012