Egypt scraps visit by Iranian foreign minister to protest comments on Mideast peace talks

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt has canceled a visit by Iran's foreign minister to protest comments in which he accused Arab leaders of betrayal for attending the new round of Mideast peace talks in Washington.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had been scheduled to visit Cairo Monday for a meeting of Nonaligned Movement members.

Iran has an uneasy relationship with U.S.-allied Arab nations, which have watched Tehran's growing influence in the Middle East with concern because of suspicions over its nuclear program and its support for radical Islamic groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

Mottaki said Arab leaders who attended the relaunch of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in Washington this week were "betraying their nations."

"Some leaders ... who follow America's orders must understand that they are betraying their nations," Iran's Fars news agency quoted him as saying on Tuesday.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordanian King Abdullah II attended the talks.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry said it summoned Iran's charge d'affaires in Cairo to notify him it was canceling Monday's visit and postponing the Nonaligned meeting.

Iran severed ties with Egypt after it signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979 and provided asylum to Iran's deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.