August 31, 2012
The new Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, performed a dramatic about turn today when he told an audience in Iran that he supported military intervention in Syria – infuriating Bashar al-Assad’s foreign minister and cleaving a gaping political fissure with Tehran.
Mr Morsi told the meeting of 120 countries at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran that the crisis in Syria was a “responsibility on all our shoulders” and that regional players should confront the “oppressive regime” President Assad.
His comments are likely to heap further pressure on Syria, where state TV reported that Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem had stormed out of the conference in disgust. Officials accused Mr Morsi of inciting rebels who are trying to topple the regime. But they will also deepen the widening rift with Iran, a Shia theocracy which is a long-standing ally of secular Syria.