A secret meeting held recently between Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's aide and the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Al-Quds Force led to the dismissal of Egypt's former Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal El Din, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Wednesday, citing senior security officials in Egypt.
According to the report, Gamal El Din, who is a staunch critic of the Islamist movement in Egypt, was fired because he had voiced his opposition to the meeting between Morsi's aide, Essam al-Haddad, and Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.
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The Egyptian newspaper said he also criticised the Muslim Brotherhood's security policy.
The Times reported on Tuesday that Suleimani, Iran's spy chief, visited Cairo just after Christmas for two days of talks with senior officials close to President Morsi. According to the British daily, Suleimani met al-Haddad, foreign affairs adviser to Morsi, and officials from the Muslim Brotherhood, to advise the Egyptian government on building its own security and intelligence apparatus, independent of the national intelligence services, which are controlled by Egypt's military.
Scene of attack on Israeli diplomat's car in New Delhi (Archive photo: AP)
The Times quoted a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidance Council, the Maktab al-Ershad, as saying that "the government requested a high-level meeting with Iranian officials. Iran sent Suleimani. The meeting was intended to send a message to America, which is putting pressure on the Egyptian government, that we should be allowed to have other alliances with anyone we please."
Suleimani's visit to Cairo has raised concerns that Egypt is looking to distance itself from the West and boost its relations with the so-called radical axis, despite its dependency on American military aid.
The Al-Quds Force is the long arm of the Revolutionary Guard Corps and is responsible for terror attacks on foreign interests outside Iran, including last year's attacks on Israeli tourists and diplomats in India, Thailand and Georgia.