Iran and Egypt, Twin Outsiders of the Muslim World via Tehran Bureau / MOHAMAD KORRANI

A resonant history of influence and inspiration suggests it is now the turn of the Iranian people, and soon.

Tahseen Bashir, the late Egyptian intellectual and erudite diplomat, once said that Egypt and Iran are the only two real countries in the region, and the rest are simply "tribes with flags."

The cataclysmic events in Egypt have got Iranians thinking, Will the same eventually happen in Iran?

This question is new neither to Iranians nor Egyptians. A close look at the history of the two nations reveals enough precedents to suggest that Iran will one way or another follow, or rather, sooner or later respond significantly to the events in Egypt.

The two nations share an important legacy. They were both sites of grand and ancient empires before the Islamic conquest. The resulting "empire consciousness" always set them apart from the Muslim epicenter. Though they were vanquished militarily, they never acquiesced to the superiority of the Bedouin culture. It is not by chance that the first challenge to the Abbasid Empire emanating from the Arabian Peninsula was in the form of the Fatimid state in Egypt with Ismailism as its official religion.

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