Egypt denies hardliners halted Iran tourism

Cairo, April 10: Egypt's presidential spokesman says tourist flights from Iran were not suspended because of pressure from "any particular groups".

Ehab Fahmy's comments come after an outcry by hardliner Sunni Muslims, known as Salafis, who were angered by the Egyptian government's push to improve ties with Shiite Iran.

The spokesman did not explain why the flights were suspended until June.

Speaking to reporters in Cairo, the spokesperson said Egypt's first concern with Iranian tourists is ensuring that their visits do not affect the country's sovereignty.

"Egypt is Sunni and will remain a Sunni bastion of moderation and centrism in Islam," he said, referring to concerns by some Salafis that the Iran aims to spread its practices among Sunni Muslims.

He added that President Mohammed Mursi does not make decisions under pressure.

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