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Mohammad Morsi, New Egyptian President, 'Will Strengthen Ties With Iran'

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The newly-elected president of Egypt, Mohammed Morsi, has been quoted by the Iranian semi-state run news agency Fars as wanting to strengthen relations between the two countries.

According to an interview with Fars, Morsi, who was elected as president after his party, the Muslim Brotherhood, won on Sunday, will try to become closer to Tehran after three decades of icy relations.

Morsi reportedly said that "part of my agenda is the development of ties between Iran and Egypt that will create a strategic balance in the region," in an interview that Fars say will be published at a later date.

Fars claim that Morsi was speaking only hours before he was named the victor in the election, beating former dictator Hosni Mubarak's ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq with 51.7 percent of the runoff vote – a margin of only 800,000 votes.

mohammad morsi

Thousands lined the streets after Morsi's victory, filling Tahrir Square

However, reports later on Monday suggested that the newly-elected president had not given any such indication to Fars.

"Mr Morsi did not give any interview to Fars and everything that this agency has published is without foundation," a spokesman for the Egyptian presidency told the official news agency MENA, reported AFP.

As the first Islamist to earn the presidency of Egypt, Morsi may have more natural inclination for creating a more cooperative dialogue with Iran, which in turn could threaten the political balance between Iran, Egypt and Israel.

The two countries have had no ties since the early 1980s, and relations between Israel and Iran have intensified the latter began its controversial nuclear program.

Hundreds of thousands crowded the streets and the now infamous Tahrir Square in celebration after Morsi was elected president on Sunday.

The 60-year-old's victory came one and a half years after the bloody upheaval of Hosni Mubarak's rule, and he called it "splendid vision of democracy" that represented the beginning of an "Islamic Awakening".

Updated: 19:12, 25 June 2012, with Egyptian government denial

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