Egypt constitution’s initial ‘yes’ vote congratulated by Iran
Initial results showing the approval of an Islamist-backed constitution in Egypt was welcomed by Iran late on Sunday, an Iranian news agency reported, as the controversial charter drove a wedge between Egyptian groups.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast congratulated the Egyptians on the approval of the constitution, adding that Tehran regarded it as "a decisive step towards democracy" in Egypt, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).
"People's participation (in the referendum) will be a great support for the Egyptian government so that in the future, it can take more steps in achieving the great Islamic and revolutionary goals of the Egyptian people," Mehmanparast added.
The Muslim Brotherhood, which propelled Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi to power in a June election, said an unofficial tally showed 64 percent of voters backed the charter after two rounds of voting that ended with a final ballot on Saturday.
Diplomatic relations between Tehran and Cairo broke down after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution over Egypt's support for the overthrown shah and its peace agreement with Iran's arch-enemy Israel.
Since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, there have been signs of warming relations. In August, Mursi made the first visit to Tehran by an Egyptian leader in more than 30 years. The two countries have not officially upgraded ties.
Egypt’s opposition said on Sunday that it will appeal the results of a referendum that ruling Islamists said approved a new constitution, claiming that voting was riddled with “fraud and violations.”
The announcement was made by the opposition National Salvation Front the day after the second and final round of the referendum.
“The referendum is not the end of the road. It is only one battle,” said the statement, read by Front member Abdel Ghaffer Shokr at a Cairo news conference. “We will continue the fight for the Egyptian people.”
Another Front member, Amr Hamzawy, said: “We are asking the (electoral) commission to investigate the irregularities before announcing official results.”
The results had been due to be announced on Monday. If the outcome is confirmed, a parliamentary election will follow in about two months.
Germany urged Egypt on Sunday to get to the bottom of allegations of fraud leveled by the opposition.
"The reports from Egypt fill me with concern," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.
"The new constitution can only meet with acceptance if the process of its adoption is beyond reproach. Allegations of irregularities must therefore be investigated in a quick, transparent and decisive manner."
He said Egypt would only have a successful future "if all social groups reach out to each other".
"Not the power of the street but rather the spirit of compromise and tolerance should determine the way forward for Egypt," Westerwelle said.