Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
will visit Cairo next week, becoming the first Iranian president to travel to Egypt
since Iran's 1979 revolution ruptured diplomatic ties between the two most populous countries in the Middle East.
Ahmadinejad will head Iran's delegation to a summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cairo, said Amani Mojtaba, head of Iran's interest section in Cairo, which it maintains in the absence of an official embassy.
"I hope that Iranian-Egyptian relations return to the full diplomatic level," he said.
The trip follows a visit by Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi
to Iran in August last year, when the two leaders agreed to reopen official embassies.
Tehran broke off relations with Cairo in 1980, a year after both Iran's revolution and Egypt's peace agreement with Israel.
Ahmadinejad (R) and Morsi (Archives: Reuters)
While the countries were estranged, Egypt gave asylum and a state funeral to Iran's exiled Shah Reza Pahlavi, who is buried in a medieval Cairo mosque alongside his ex-brother-in-law, Egypt's last king, Farouk. Iran
named a street after the assassin who killed Egypt's President Anwar Sadat.
The 2011 uprising that toppled Egypt's former autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak
has provided a chance to reopen formal relations. But Egypt, like other Sunni Muslim Arab states, remains at odds with Shiite Iran over many regional issues.
Morsi has been among the most vocal opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad,
Syria's membership of the OIC was suspended at the organization's last summit, despite strong Iranian objections, and the civil war there is likely to be one of the main issues discussed in Cairo next week.
The OIC summit will be the biggest international event Morsi has hosted since taking power seven months ago as the first elected leader in Egypt's 5,000-year history.
It follows days of violent street demonstrations by his political opponents in which nearly 60 people have been killed since January 25.
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop