Around a week ago reports started appearing in the Arabic press, sometimes quoting the Israeli media, suggesting that the head of Iran’s Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, recently met with an adviser to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.
The Times now confirms the reports.
Egypt’s Islamist Government has enlisted covert help from Iran to strengthen its grip on power, dealing another blow to Cairo’s fragile relationship with the West. Qassem Suleimani, Iran’s spy chief, visited the Egyptian capital just after Christmas for two days of talks with senior officials close to President Mohamed Morsi, The Times has learnt.
Mr Suleimani, who oversees Iran’s proxy militias across the region, including Hezbollah and Hamas, travelled at the invitation of Mr Morsi’s Government and his powerful backers in the Muslim Brotherhood.
The spy chief met Essam al-Haddad, foreign affairs adviser to Mr Morsi, and officials from the Brotherhood to advise the government on building its security and intelligence apparatus independent of the national intelligence services, which are controlled by Egypt's military.
… Two members of the Muslim Brotherhood's "guidance office" Maktab al-Irshad confirmed details of Mr Suleimani's visit. "The government requested a high-level meeting with Iranian officials. Iran sent Suleimani," said one official.
"The meeting was intended to send a message to America, which is putting pressure on the Egyptian government, that we should be allowed to have other alliances with anyone we please."
Soleimani was recently deemed the “World’s Most Dangerous Person.”