Iran’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that moves are under way to appoint its first ambassador to Cairo since 1980.

“We are ready to take steps,” says ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast. “We believe that developing relations between Iran and Egypt are in the interest of both countries and the region.”

The two countries severed ties in 1980 after the Islamic Revolution in Iran and Egypt’s recognition of Israel.

With the resignation of former president Hosni Mubarak on 11 February, Egypt is aiming to improve its relations with Tehran.

“We are prepared to take a different view of Iran. The former regime used to see Iran as an enemy, but we don’t,” says Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Menha Bakhoum.

Egypt’s new Foreign minister, Nabeel al-Arabi, appointed after the fall of Mubarak, has already said the new regime is willing to turn a page in relations with Tehran (MEED 31:3:11).

Magdy Hussein, leader of the long-banned religious party, the Islamist Labour Party travelled to Iran this week to meet Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, in another sign of Egypt’s new focus since Mubarak’s downfall.

Hussein is aiming to stand in the presidential elections in September.