Ali Akbar Salehi

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has slammed Egypt for failing to respond to his request for passage to visit the Gaza Strip.

Gaza, which has been under Hamas rule for five years, underwent eight days of attacks by Israeli forces in the past week.

The bombing of Gaza by Israeli forces left at least 150 Palestinians dead, while five Israelis also died in retaliatory attacks by Hamas.

Salehi told IRNA that he has spoken by phone and in person with Egypt’s foreign minister about a visit to the Gaza Strip and he is still awaiting a response from Egyptian officials.

The Gaza Strip is surrounded by Israel, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea, and since Iran has no relations with Israel, Salehi’s only route to Gaza is through Egypt.

Iran had no diplomatic relations with Egypt under Hosni Mubarak’s regime; however, since the election of President Muhammad Mursi, the two countries have resumed limited relations. While Islamic Republic authorities have been supportive of Mursi’s election victory, the Egyptian president has indicated that re-establishing relations with Iran is not high on his agenda.