The office of Egyptian President-elect Mohammed Mursi will file a lawsuit against the Iranian news agency Fars for making up an interview with him which said he promised to improve ties between the two countries, a spokesman said on Wednesday.
“President Mursi was never interviewed by Iran’s Fars news agency. The interview was fabricated and his presidential office has begun taking legal action against the news agency,” a presidential spokesperson, Yasser Ali, told Reuters.
Iran has hailed Mursi’s victory over former air force commander Ahmed Shafiq in Egypt’s first free presidential election as a “splendid vision of democracy” that marked the country’s “Islamic Awakening.”
Since Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak was toppled in one of those uprisings, both Cairo and Tehran have signaled interest in renewing ties severed more than 30 years ago.
Mursi, however, is striving to reassure Egypt’s Western allies wary about Islamists coming to power, and Gulf states that are suspicious of Iranian influence, and is unlikely to stage major foreign policy reversals so soon after taking office.
Mursi pushes ahead
Mursi pushed ahead on Wednesday with his plan of selecting a government, after a court delivered a blow to the ruling military by suspending its powers to arrest civilians.
Egypt’s first civilian president, since the ouster of Mubarak, has to contend with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The SCAF, which took control after Mubarak resigned, will retain broad powers even after it formally transfers control to Mursi at the end of June.
The president-elect has met Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, the head of SCAF and the man to whom Mubarak handed power.
Before appointing a prime minister for the post-Mubarak Egypt, media reports said, Mursi has been holding consultations with a cross-section of Egyptian society.
In related news, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday congratulated Mursi but added that the election that brought him to power was just a step towards true democracy.