عنوان مقاله [English]
In the literature of geopolitical studies, the convergence of two countries has always been considered as their political, economic, and strategic intermingling. International convergences can both promote the geopolitical status of a country and expand its influence on geopolitical domains. Based on the status and functions played by Islamic Republic of Iran and Arab Republic of Egypt in the affairs of the Middle East, the existence of barriers to the convergence of the two countries can bring about considerably far-reaching consequences in this geographical region. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the most significant barriers to the convergence of Iran and Egypt (in the period between 2018 and 2022). The study was applied in terms of purpose and implemented a descriptive-analytical methodology. The population consisted of all experts, specialists, and university professors in geopolitics and international relations, and Cochran’s formula(William Cochran) determined the sample size at 50. The obtained means were analyzed using SPSS(Statistical Package for the Social Sciences). The results showed that transregional, regional, and domestic factors were the most significant barriers to the convergence of Iran and Egypt, and trans-regional factors were more pronounced in this regard. In other words, Egypt’s support of the intensified military presence of the U.S. in the Middle East, the Iranian ideology of exporting its revolution to the Middle East and North Africa, Iran’s support for the resistance front, and Egypt’s approval of “Abraham Accords” have had the most significant impacts on the increased divergence between Islamic Republic of Iran and Arab Republic of Egypt.
The present study was applied-developmental in terms of its goals and could be classified as a descriptive-analytical one in terms of its nature and methods. As the goal was to investigate the most remarkable obstacles against the convergence of Iran-Egypt relations (2018-22), the data were collected using the library method and field investigations, including questionnaires, interviews, and field observations. The population of the study consisted of all specialists, university professors, and experts in political geography, political science, and international relations, and the sample size was determined at 44 using Cochran’s formula. However, the sample size was increased to 50 to enhance the reliability of the results. The sampling was performed using the snowball sampling technique. Moreover, the obtained reliability coefficient was 0.75, which indicated the acceptability of the results.
Results and Discussion
The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a country with unique characteristics and a distinct status in strategic developments, is always influenced by changes and transformations in the international system and influences them in return. Undoubtedly, Iran is an influential country due to its special geopolitical, geo-economic, and geo-cultural features and plays roles much beyond a regional or local country. The Islamic Republic and the formation of a new attitude concerning the nature of the international system, the political issues of the Middle East, Iran’s strategies in opposing the U.S. as a hegemonic power, and the prioritization of the Islamic ideology in foreign relations transformed Iran’s relations with some countries, including Egypt. In the meantime, the gloomy relations, which originated from past occurrences (particularly during the 1980s and 1990s) between Iran and Egypt have been evident. Investigating the relationships between Iran and Egypt since the Islamic Revolution of Iran indicates that the relations have always been challenging. In general, the relations between Tehran and Cairo have been influenced by a set of convergent and divergent factors, and attempts to improve the relations through political solutions and diplomatic contact have been futile due to various factors and causes. Thus, based on the above points, the present study aimed to answer the following questions: what are the most significant factors in the divergence of Iran-Egypt relations as two influential countries in the Middle East?
The investigations carried out in the present study showed that the main reason that cut diplomatic ties between Iran and Egypt could be attributed to several factors, and all of them were divided into three major classes: domestic factors, regional factors, and trans-regional factors. In this regard, after presenting the results and descriptive findings, a variable was proposed based on the views of 50 experts and specialists in international relations, political geography, and geopolitics who filled out questionnaires distributed in the study. The results showed that trans-regional factors played the most significant role in the divergence of the relations between the two countries, and Egypt’s support of the intensification of the U.S.’s military activities in the Middle East, Iran’s policy of exporting its revolution to the countries of the Middle East and North Africa, Iran’s support of the Axis of Resistance, and Egypt’s backing of the Abraham Accords in the Arab States of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East had the most significant effects on increasing the divergence. Moreover, other causes included the Camp David Accords, Iran’s support of the resistance movement, increased socioeconomic relationships between Egypt and Israel, Egypt’s fears of Egyptians’ aggravated sympathies toward Imams and the family members of Prophet Mohammad, and naming a street in Tehran after Khalid El Islambouli. Nevertheless, any suggestions to facilitate the normalization of the relationships between the two countries require the elites’ will, particularly that of their top decision-makers.