"Iran is a state in the region, and we have had long-term historical ties with it over the different periods," al-Arabi told a press conference. "We will turn over a new leaf with all states, including Iran."
The foreign minister had no definitive answer to whether Egypt planned to open an embassy in Tehran, however.
No love was lost between the deposed regime of Egypt's former president, Hosni Mubarak, and that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who saw Mubarak as too closely connected with Western powers and Israel.
Al-Arabi was also asked about Hezbollah, of which he said, "Hezbollah is part of Lebanon's composition, and we see this as an internal matter… If any party wishes to have ties with Egypt there will be nothing preventing us from talking, but we will not become involved in internal matters."
Last year Egypt arrested dozens of men affiliated with the Shiite organization, who were convicted of planning terror attacks in the country. Twenty-six were sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
Al-Arabi has also been known as a vocal critic of Israel. During his service as a judge in the International Court of Justice, he took part in a panel that debated the separation fence in the West Bank.
Israel objected to his presence on the panel, claiming he was anti-Israel and not objective, but to no avail. He has also recommended that the Jewish state be tried for genocide.
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