Egypt Offered Iran Incentives in Deal to Remove Assad, Sources Say

Cairo offers Tehran diplomatic and economic aid, including the purchase of large quantities of crude oil, in exchange for removal of Syrian President and his expulsion from Syria.

Egypt has offered Iran a number of incentives, including help with easing its diplomatic and economic isolation, in return for Tehran’s agreement to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad and allow his safe exit from Syria, according to official Egyptian sources.

The Cairo government also expressed readiness to renew its diplomatic ties with Tehran and buy large quantities of Iranian crude oil despite the international embargo, the Egyptian newspaper Al-Sharq al-Awsat said Thursday. Egypt is experiencing a serious shortage of petroleum products.

Official Egyptian sources said that the proposals were made during direct talks with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir, who participated in a Cairo meeting initiated by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi this week.  He discussed possible solutions to the Syrian crisis with representatives of Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

In his address to the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran last month, Morsi vigorously condemned Assad and his regime, angering the Syrian delegation, which walked out. The Iranians, meanwhile, nearly caused an embarrassing diplomatic incident by deliberately mistranslating Morsi’s words, replacing “Syria” with “Bahrain.”

Iranian and Egyptian sources say that mid-level contacts between their countries are continuing.  Amir categorically rejected any linkage between stronger Iranian-Egyptian ties and the removal of Assad and his regime, describing that demand as a precondition that would torpedo any attempt to resolve the Syrian crisis.
Meanwhile Lakhdar Brahimi, the special envoy to Syria of the United Nations and the Arab League, is expected to arrive in Damascus today and is expected to meet Assad in his palace tomorrow.

Brahimi admitted to journalists in Cairo that while his mission has already been defined as impossible, he will make every effort to formulate some sort of arrangement that, first and foremost, would bring an end to the violence in Syria.