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Egypt Breaks Ties to Iran, Jails 37 Muslims

May 14, 1987|From Reuters

CAIRO — Egypt broke all ties with Iran today and security sources said 37 Muslim extremists from a group allegedly funded by Tehran had been arrested in an assassination conspiracy.

A Foreign Ministry statement said Egypt was closing the Iranian interests section in Cairo, expelling the resident Iranian diplomat and recalling Egypt's sole diplomat from Tehran.

"The decision to expel the Iranian mission was a result of actions incompatible with diplomatic protocols and in violation of the Vienna accords governing diplomatic activity," the statement said. It did not elaborate.

Security sources, however, said 37 members of an underground Muslim extremist group said to be funded by Iran had been arrested. They said the group had been planning to assassinate Egyptian officials.

Attack on Ex-Official

The sources said the group's existence came to light during investigations into an attack last week on former Interior Minister Hassan Abu Basha.

Egypt's semiofficial press has hinted that the banned Jihad group might have been involved in the shooting and wounding of Abu Basha, who was responsible for rounding up many Muslim fundamentalists after the assassination of President Anwar Sadat in 1981.

Islamic fundamentalism has been on the rise in Egypt but is not of the type influenced by Iran's revolutionary leader, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.

The majority of Egypt's Muslims are Sunnis, whereas Shia Muslims are dominant in Iran.

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