Iran condemns killing of Shi'ite Egyptians near Cairo
State television reported late on Monday that Iran's foreign ministry condemned the killing of four Shi'ite Egyptians near Cairo.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran denounces any act of extremism and violence which contradicts Islam and the tenets of Islam," read a foreign ministry statement published by the website of English-language news channel, Press TV.
"Iran is certain that the sensible and revolutionary Egyptian nation, through its prudent leaders, will also exercise vigilance vis-à-vis plots to foment discord among various schools of Islam," it added.
The four worshippers had gathered on Sunday at the home of a prominent Shi'ite on the outskirts of Cairo to mark a religious festival when the house was attacked by a hostile crowd, which accused them of heresy and beat them to death.
Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi condemned the "heinous crime" but stands accused by Egyptian Shi'ite leaders and liberal opposition of promoting sectarian anger over the war in Syria as a means of appeasing its own hardline Sunni allies.
Around 90% of Iranians belong to the Shi'ite denomination, whereas in Egypt the figure is estimated at no more than 2%.
Protests against Morsi
On Monday, Egypt's army said it would step in if demonstrations turn riotous because protests against Morsi were "an attack on the will of the people".
Egypt's army has cautioned that it will intervene next weekend if mass rallies against the president descend into violence, in one of its strongest warnings since it handed rule over to civilian government a year ago. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the defence minister, said he would not allow an "attack on the will of the people" and called for political reconcilliation in the week before mass rallies against President Morsi next Sunday.
"There is a state of division in society and the continuation of it is a danger to the Egyptian state and there must be consensus among all," Sisi said.
Morsi's opponents plan to organise massive protests on June 30, the first anniversary of his election – a day that is the subject of frenzied speculation on Egyptian streets and in the media. Many claim they will not leave the streets until the fall of Morsi's regime, arguing he has little respect for democratic values.
The army has said it will deploy troops on the streets on that day, while the president says he may introduce a state of emergency if, as expected, the protests spark widespread civil unrest. – AFP; © Guardian News and Media 2013