The presidency has responded to claims made by a British newspaper that a meeting with the Iranian spy chief was intended to “send a message to America.”
President Mohamed Morsy’s assistant on foreign relations, Essam El-Haddad, published a statement on his official Facebook page on Thursday in response to an article published by The Times last Tuesday.
El-Haddad described the article as a “fabricated news story” and denied that Iranian spy chief, Qassem Suleimani, was ever in Egypt.
The article cited two members of the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Council who confirmed Suleimani’s visit and said the meeting was intended to “send a message to America.”
El-Haddad said: “We are concerned that a respectable news outlet such as The Times would fail to uphold basic journalistic standards.” The president’s assistant also claimed that the newspaper “declined to retract [the article] or to acknowledge the refutation of the story by their alleged sources.”
El-Haddad also pointed out that a denial of this story had already been published three days before the article appeared in The Times.
The Times was not available for comment.
The statement comes five days after El-Haddad’s office published a criticism of Egyptian media, which questioned its professionalism and objectivity.
Relations between Iran and America have been strained, especially over Iran’s nuclear project.
During the reign of former President Hosni Mubarak, relations between Egypt and Iran were strained. However relations have warmed since Morsy assumed office when he became the first Egyptian president to visit the country in decades.
The Iranian foreign minister visited Cairo on Thursday and met with Morsy and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Amr to discuss the Syria crisis.