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Passenger jet leaves Egypt for Iran in first direct flight between the countries in decades

Officials say a commercial airliner has left Egypt for Iran in the first direct passenger flight between the two countries in more than three decades.

Cairo-Tehran relations have witnessed a thaw since the June election of Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi. Diplomatic relations were frozen after Egypt signed its 1979 peace treaty with Israel and Iran underwent its Islamic Revolution.

Cairo airport officials say a private Air Memphis flight departed Saturday for Tehran carrying eight Iranians, including two diplomats. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak to reporters.

Egypt's tourism minister visited Tehran last month to sign an agreement promoting tourism between the countries. Egypt's Foreign and Civil Aviation Ministries, however, set regulations restricting the number and movement of Iranian tourists in Egypt.