As a result, Morsi has delivered a mixed message toward Iran. On one hand, his second international trip as president was to Iran in August (his first trip was to China). But once there, at Iran’s invitation, he stunned his hosts during a speech in Tehran by blasting them for supporting Assad, calling the Syrian regime “oppressive.” And while he welcomed Salehi on Thursday, in an interview over the weekend with CNN, Morsi said Assad should be tried for war crimes. He also suggested that if Assad falls, Iran could lose a major regional ally.
"The Syrian people through their revolution and through their movement will, when the bloodshed stops, move to a new stage where they will have an independent parliament and a government of their choosing," Morsi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. "And then they will decide what they want to do to those who committed crimes against them. It is the Syrian people who decide."
Salehi could not ignore the gap between the two states about Syria. After meeting with Morsi, Salehi said the two states were seeking to avoid areas where they disagree and focus instead on common ground.
So far, Egypt’s openness to Iran has not threatened U.S-Egyptian relations, experts say. Morsi appears still to be figuring out what U.S.-Egyptian relations will look like in the post-Mubarak era, said Jon Alterman, a Middle East expert at the Washington-based Center for International and Strategic Studies. So far, Morsi has not signaled he wants to undermine American interests.
“I think people are watching carefully, but it’s not time to declare Egypt a hostile state,” he said.
U.S. Embassy officials in Cairo declined to comment about Salehi’s visit. Morsi has yet to visit the United States, but officials from his office told McClatchy a trip could come as early as next month.