Ahmadinejad told not to interfere in Gulf
February 5, 2013
Cairo: Egypt’s top cleric told visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday not to interfere in the affairs of Bahrain or other Gulf states, and to uphold the rights of his country’s Sunni minority.
Ahmad Al Tayyeb, the grand imam of Cairo’s Al Azhar, highest Sunni seat of learning, also denounced what he described as the “spread of Shiism in Sunni lands”.
Al Tayyeb, who made the remarks in a statement after meeting Ahmadinejad, demanded “the Iranian president respect Bahrain as a brotherly Arab nation, and not interfere in the affairs of Gulf states”.
In October, Bahrain summoned an Iranian envoy to protest at Tehran’s “interference” in the Gulf state’s internal affairs. Shiite-ruled Iran has supported protests by Bahrain’s Shiite majority against the Sunni monarchy.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, Ahmadinejad gave a news conference at Al Azhar in which he said he “came from Iran to say that Egypt and the Egyptian people have their place in the heart of the Iranian people”.
But senior Al Azhar cleric Hassan Al Shafie, who spoke after Ahmadinejad, launched into a tirade against “some Shiites” for insulting some of the Prophet Mohammad’s [PBUH] companions as the Iranian president listened with noticeable unease.
“The discussions were frank,” Al Shafie said of Ahaminejad’s meeting with Al Tayyeb.
“There ensued some misunderstandings on certain issues that could have an effect on the cultural, political and social climate of both countries,” Al Shafie said.
“The issues were such that the grand shsikh saw that the meeting ... did not serve the desired purpose.”