'Iran wants to woo Egypt and Sudan away from US orbit'

Iran is trying to ‘woo’ Egypt and Sudan away from the influence of Western countries, seeking an alliance to counterbalance their clout in the region, Iranian political analyst Seyed Mohammad Marandi told RT.

Ahmadinejad offered to lend money to cash-strapped Egypt and Sudan during his visit to Cairo for the Islamic summit on Wednesday.

"We must all understand that the only option is to set up this alliance because it is in the interests of the Egyptian and Iranian peoples and other nations of the region," Ahmadinejad said, as cited by the MENA news agency.

Ahmadinejad is the first Iranian leader in three decades to visit Egypt.  The two countries renewed diplomatic ties after Egypt overthrew ex-president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Iran is offering loans to gain an ally in the region against Western powers and encourage regional trade and cooperation, political analyst Marandi told RT.

RT: Iran is ready to hand out loans it seems. How much of a blow have the international sanctions been to its economy?

Seyed Mohammad Marandi :They are not really international sanctions, they are Western sanctions, the US and EU are trying to prevent countries from purchasing Iranian oil , they‘ve also attempted to shut down all trade through the Iranian banking system, thus making it difficult to import medicine and as a result people have died in Iran.

So the EU and US have blood on their hands already. Although the economy did take a blow, it is continuing to function normally, though the prices have gone up and the Iranian Rial has devalued, but business does continue.

The Iranians are giving or offering these loans to encourage trade between Iran and Egypt and Sudan, because Iran  believes that the overthrow of some dictatorships in the region have opened new opportunities to bring about greater regional cooperation  and Iran wants to help woo these countries away from the American orbit.

RT: Indeed you mentioned Egypt there which is currently relying on the USA, is Tehran keen to challenge Washington’s influence in the long-term?

SM: I think in Iran the feeling is that the US and the EU are already rapidly on the decline. A number of dictatorships they were backing have been overthrown. Dictatorships that they are backing, like Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich Arab regimes are growing, their future is becoming more questionable. The attempts by the US, the EU and the oil-rich dictatorships to create a civil war in Syria and overthrow the Syrian government have so far failed after two years. So American policy in the region is not doing well.

The Iranians feel that as time goes on it is the Iranians who will be in a stronger position. Although the US and the EU have been very brutal towards Iran by trying to prevent trade, by trying to hurt ordinary people.  Even now Iranian radio and television networks , English, Persian, Arabic and Spanish, have all been banned on European satellites, Euro SAT, Asia SAT, so freedom of information is being blocked by the US and the EU so that people across the globe can’t hear the Iranian voice which is the ultimate irony.

RT: So is it just business or we are witnessing a some geopolitical shift with Iran making alliances with Egypt and Sudan?

SM: Yes, an alliance is something that the Iranians would like to see ultimately, but it will take quite a long time. The relations between Iran and Egypt are improving quite rapidly and I think that in the future we will see these relations improving even further.