Egyptian ambassador weighs in on Iran


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Egyptian Ambassador Sameh Shoukry is a career diplomat, a specialist in disarmament and non-proliferation. On Wednesday he also sidestepped some difficult questions.

Ambassador Shoukry told the /*World Affairs Council*/ Egypt is concerned about what is happening in Iran, but doesn't want to get involved.

"History tells us that foreign intervention on many of these issues has not always been the best course of action," said Ambassador Shoukry.

He says /*President Barack Obama*/ is on the right track by trying to resolve differences through negotiation.

"And we hope this policy of engagement will extract a more constructive policy from the Iranian regime," said Ambassador Shoukry.

But this week the president condemned Iran's crackdown on protestors.

"The United States and the international community have been appalled and outraged by the threats, the beatings and imprisonment of the last few days," said President Obama.

Does Egypt share that same view?

"In any circumstance where there is loss of life or personal injury, it's a matter of grave concern," said Ambassador Shoukry.

But again the ambassador returned to the idea of it is Iran's problem to solve not Egypt's.

"It does still remain the responsibility of the Iranian people to resolve their difficulties and to ascertain what they're best interests are," he said.

Ambassador Shoukry says in spite of the crackdown, the U.S. is in a better position to negotiate with Iran's leaders because it is no longer as easy for hardliners to portray the U.S. as the great Satan.

"I think currently the interconnectivity of the world is what we are seeing today in Iran in terms of Twitter and access to broadband and Internet," he said.

The world is shrinking, said Ambassador Shoukry, and though a hardliner has won reelection in Iran and another hardliner has been elected in Israel, Egypt and the Middle East are turning to the U.S. with renewed hope for peace.

"They all can put their trust in the United States to guarantee the outcome," he said.

The Egyptian ambassador says the real strength of the United States is the fact that all of the parties involved are still eager for the U.S. to remain involved.

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