(Adds details, background)
CAIRO, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Egypt on Monday summoned the Iranian charge d‘affaires in Cairo to protest over recent Iranian statements on Egypt, the foreign ministry said.
Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said last Saturday that her country was worried by the recent escalation in violence between Egypt’s army and protesters supporting former Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.
At least 17 people were killed on Friday in clashes between the police and supporters of Mursi, who was ousted by the army in July. “The Iranian comments were an unacceptable interference in Egypt’s internal affairs,” said Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty.
Egypt’s relationship with Iran improved markedly during Mursi’s one-year rule, after decades of broken diplomatic and political ties between the two majority Muslim states.
Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Egypt for an Islamic summit last year, marking the first visit by an Iranian leader in more than three decades. He called for a strategic alliance with Egypt and offered Cairo a loan to ease a deepening economic crisis.
Iran had welcomed the 2011 uprising that led to the downfall of autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, and considered it an “Islamic awakening” given that it was followed by Islamist rule.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called on Egyptian authorities last August not to suppress the masses after hundreds of people were killed when security forces stormed camps full of Mursi supporters in Cairo.
The Egyptian foreign ministry also summoned Qatar’s ambassador on Saturday to complain about similar remarks made by Doha in reaction to Friday’s violent confrontations. (Reporting by Yasmine Saleh and Omar Fahmy; Editing by Mike Collett-White)