Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood After the Arab Uprisings

Source: Carnegie

Author(s): Tamer Badawi and Osama Al-Sayyad

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Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, despite falling on opposite sides of the Middle East’s Sunni-Shia divide, both see benefits in cultivating ties. For Iran, outreach to the Brotherhood, particularly the movement’s Egyptian branch, is a low-cost investment in a group that could help Tehran widen its influence in the region. For the Brotherhood, it is useful to have connections with Iran—a regional power that shares a similar, though not identical, ideology on the role of Islam in politics and society—to serve as political leverage with other important actors in the Middle East. However, while Iran is eager to develop a deeper relationship to support its regional agenda, the Muslim Brotherhood remains hesitant to move beyond friendly contacts. This is due to the organization’s overriding priorities, notably its unwillingness to alienate the Sunni Arab world.

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