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Middle East

First direct Cairo-Tehran flight in 34 years

The first commercial flight in 34 years took off from Cairo to Tehran, a sign of improving relations between the two.

Last Modified: 31 Mar 2013 01:26
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The first commercial flight between Egypt and Iran in 34 years took off, the latest step towards normalising ties broken following the 1979 Iranian revolution.

Egypt and Iran agreed to resume direct flights in October 2010 before President Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power, but no flights were made.

"A flight by Air Memphis, owned by Egyptian businessman Rami Lakah, took off from Cairo to Tehran earlier on Saturday carrying eight Iranians including diplomats," one airport official said adding that the airline could later carry out more tourist and business trips between Egypt and Iran.

Diplomatic relations between Iran and Egypt were cut in the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian revolution in Tehran when the government in Cairo gave sanctuary to the deposed shah.

But ties improved over the years, and have become significantly better since the election of Mohammad Morsi as president of Egypt in June 2012.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Egypt in February, the first visit by an Iranian leader to Cairo in more than three decades, and called for a strategic alliance with Egypt and offered a loan to the cash-strapped Arab state.

Morsi visited Iran in August to attend an international summit where he initiated a quartet committee that included Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia to discuss ways to end the Syrian civil war. Saudi Arabia later left the group.

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