Egypt's Morsi to sue Iran's Fars news over allegedly fake interview


Supporters of Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate in Egypt's presidential election, pray during the party's last campaign rally in Cairo on May 20, 2012.


Mahmud Hams

Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's president-elect, today announced plans to sue Iran's semi-official Fars news agency for allegedly fabricating an interview suggesting improved Egypt-Iran ties, reported Reuters

The move comes amid growing speculation over Egypt's potential repositioning as a regional power now that the country has a new leader.

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Although Morsi's powers have been extremely limited thanks to recent legal moves by the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces, the president's relations with foreign policy dealbreakers like Israel and Iran will be closely watched. 

The Fars report quoted Morsi as telling the agency on Sunday that stronger ties with the Islamic Republic will create a "strategic balance in the region." 

Morsi spokesman Yasser Ali told Reuters that the remark was "fabricated," adding that Morsi "has begun taking legal action against the news agency." 

The United States, which provides Egypt with billions in military aid while sanctioning Iran over its controversial nuclear program, is not likely to support improved Egyptian-Iranian relations. 

Morsi, a US-educated engineer elected president in a tight run-off election earlier this month, has also voiced his disapproval of the Camp David accords -- the landmark 1979 treaty that established peace with Israel.

The president-elect went so far as to start various anti-Israeli groups within the Muslim Brotherhood, the prominent Islamic group that led Morsi's campaign after being banned from political activity for decades in Egypt. Morsi also regularly voiced similar concerns during his five-year parliamentary stint, but it remains unclear what position he will take as president.

Morsi, 60, met with the country's ruling generals today and is set to announce his cabinet picks soon.