Egypt’s President Mohammad Mursi has blasted Syria’s government as an “oppressive regime” and urged support for the uprising.
He was speaking at a summit of non-aligned nations in Iran, one of President Assad’s few remaining allies.
Mursi’s comments were not only uncomfortable for his hosts but also for Syria’s delegation which walked out.
“It is a moral duty to stand with the Syrian people against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy,” Mursi told the conference hall in Tehran.
“It is a political and strategic necessity. It comes from our belief in a new independent Syria and we should express our full support for the struggle of those who are demanding freedom and justice in Syria.”
Mursi is the first Egyptian leader to visit Iran since its Islamic Revolution in 1979. But his blunt remarks on Syria suggest there will be no early restoration of Cairo’s diplomatic ties with Tehran.
The Iranians also had to listen while UN chief Ban Ki-moon denounced them for calling for Israel’s destruction and denying the Holocaust.
Iran has portrayed its hosting of the summit as proof that Western sanctions and efforts to isolate it over its disputed nuclear programme have failed.