Iran says ready to lend Egypt much-needed funds

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, center, attends a press conference with Egyptian Sunni clerics at Al-Azhar headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. Egypt's most prominent Muslim cleric, the sheik of al-Azhar, has warned Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against interfering in Arab Gulf countries or trying to spread Shiite influence. Ahmadinejad, on a landmark visit to Egypt on Tuesday, received an uneasy reception from Ahmed el-Tayeb at al-Azhar, the Sunni Muslim world's foremost Islamic institution.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

CAIRO (AP) — Iran's president says his country is ready to provide a "big credit line" to help revive the distressed economy of Egypt, which saw its foreign currency reserves — already at critically low levels — fall nearly 10 percent last month.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose comments were published in the state-run Al-Ahram newspaper on Wednesday, is on a three-day visit to Egypt, centered around an Islamic summit.

It is the first trip by an Iranian leader in more than three decades. The two countries severed relations after the 1979 Islamic revolution, but after fall of Egypt's close U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak and last summer's election of an Islamist president, the two countries have grown closer.