Cultural and people-to-people ties between Iran and China — the path ahead

Tehran, IRNA – With the development of communication technologies and the media’s more significant impact on the foreign policy of countries, sub-national actors, such as public opinion and paradiplomacy, have played an increasingly vital role in foreign relations.

Though national deals are normally approved by governments, public support also plays a part that cannot be overlooked. Public opinion and influence bring opportunities and challenges to a country’s foreign policy and relations, Xinhua reported.

The development of communication technologies significantly affects how public opinion influences foreign policy. Today, the media can be used in asymmetric and soft warfare among countries. In this regard, Western countries have been a pioneer in establishing media and expanding their range of activities. Western propaganda has profoundly influenced the world’s public opinion in pursuit of particular objectives. Social networks and media are used as leverage to pressure governments or even cause disruption.

Firstly, the determination to compete in traditional and modern media should be supported. Often, the media’s influence on societies surpasses that of governments. For example, many Western media outlets seek to transmute small events in the two countries into major crises.

Secondly, media coverage of Iran and China should increase. News media coverage in both countries should be broader than diplomatic events and bilateral relations. The constant exchange of information and analyses leads to greater communication between the people of the two countries and greater credibility, which benefits from an accurate, logical, and consistent narration.

Thirdly, use paradiplomacy as a practical strategy to bring the Iranian and Chinese societies closer and reduce the negative impact of foreign media on bilateral relations.

Iran and China can support the establishment and expansion of paradiplomacy or “parallel diplomacy” among non-governmental players and people in different ways. In the era of virtual communications, unofficial and non-governmental players are more effective. Thus, increasing “citizen diplomats” — who are proficient in public diplomacy — among journalists, artists, students and researchers help advance bilateral ties. Paradiplomacy can be pursued by expanding cultural and economic relations among cities and provinces and through local authorities.

Fourthly, soft security means the people of the two countries hold a sense of security in their bilateral relations. It includes hope for the positive impact of bilateral relations on daily life and the future of relations.

The Western media consistently attempt to invoke a sense of insecurity in China and Iran about their bilateral ties. They seek to cultivate a view that “relations between your governments will bring you nothing but poverty and misery. We are your civilized friends, and other Eastern societies are uncivilized and savage.” Iranian and Chinese media should combat such misleading and manipulative perspectives.

Fifthly, the Western media’s influence on other societies originates from the West’s decades-long bid to press its values on others. Iran and China are civilized Eastern societies with many cultural commonalities and attractive cultural and traditional values. Holding joint cultural events would strengthen foreign relations between the two countries.

The development of bilateral cultural relations could provide fertile ground for policy support among the public. The role of academics, university students, artists, and other social strata and classes are essential here. Constructive, sustainable and long-term strategic cooperation and interaction with East Asian countries require such social capital.

* Abas Aslani is the CEO of Iran’s prominent English newspaper Iran Daily, holds a Ph.D. in North American Studies from the University of Tehran and is an expert on Iran’s foreign policy.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA

Iran says ready to host Turkmenistan’s cultural week

Tehran, IRNA – Iranian Minister of Culture Mohammad Mehdi Esmaeili said on Monday that Tehran is ready to host Turkmenistan’s cultural week.

Esmaeili made the remarks addressing the opening ceremony of Iran’s cultural days and an exhibition of Iranian handicrafts in Ashgabat.

He said that culture is the main element connecting the two nations of Iran and Turkmenistan.

Cultural affinities between Iran and Turkmenistan are so wide that have brought the hearts of the people of both countries close together, the minister said.

“Together with the Iranian artists present in the cultural week of Turkmenistan, we are the messengers of friendship and affection between the two countries.”

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA

Iran needs cultural creativity to resist cognitive warfare: Official

Tehran, IRNA – The enemies have invested in cognitive warfare and the removal of Islamic values; so, the Islamic Republic of Iran can stand against the threats through cultural creativity, an Iranian official said.

Vice president for parliamentary affairs Mohammad Hosseini addressed the Council of Public Culture meeting in North Khorasan Province on Thursday, noting that culture is one of the priorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which should be pursued purposefully.

Some people opine that the culture of our society cannot be engineered, but the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution underlined that all walks of life, including teachers and other groups, should try to upgrade the social culture in Iran, he said.

The American authorities have explicitly announced that they plan to spread their own values throughout the globe, the vice president said, adding that the enemies resort to cinema, theater, music and other fields to disseminate their culture and indoctrinate their values around the world.

Pointing to a cultural document, which was prepared nearly over a decade ago, he said that now the document should be finalized and presented to cultural officials to implement its 13 strategies.

Hosseini also called for cultural activities to export the pure Islamic values and culture, because the Islamic narrative would be welcomed by many societies.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA

21st Iranian Film Festival underway in Serbia

Tehran, IRNA – The 21st Festival of Iranian Films in Serbia has kicked off in the country’s capital Belgrade on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

The five-day festival, which began on Wednesday, has been organized by the cultural section of the Iranian Embassy in Belgrade, Iran’s Islamic Culture and Communication Organization and The Yugoslav Film Archive.

Iranian Ambassador to Serbia Rashid Hassanpour and a number of Serbian officials as well as Iranians residing in that country attended the opening ceremony of the festival.

Five Iranian films go on screen during the cultural event. Plus, an exhibition showcasing paintings by Iranian children and teenagers is held on the sidelines of the festival.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA

Amir Kabir; great unforgettable Iranian politician

Kashan, IRNA – January 10 is the reminder of the murder of Mirza Taghi Khan Farahani, better known as Amir Kabir, prime minister to Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, who was one of the most prominent figures of the Qajar Dynasty and a great memorable politician of Iran’s history.

Although Amir Kabir’s tenure as the chief minister was less than four years, he played a key role in hindering foreign interference in the internal affairs of the country, upgrading the health situation of the Iranian society, establishing the Darolfonoon High School to promote innovation in education, contributing to the publication of Vaqaye Ettefaqiyeh newspaper, and creating Chapar Khaneh (postal service system).

Amir Kabir can be described as a real patriot and anti-colonialist politician, who paid great heed to the future and transformation.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Alli Khamenei described Amir Kabir in a meeting with Iranian lawmakers in 2004 as one of the most prestigious names in the history of the ancient country.

The Supreme Leader noted that Amir Kabir headed his cabinet for only three years and he took remarkable steps, so it is clear that three years is a long time to do good services.

Karim Akbari, a military official in the city of Kashan, told IRNA that the great prime minister kicked off a sort of scientific independence and lifestyle during his tenure, which is followed up by the Islamic Republic in the current era, and that he was murdered because of his efforts and way of thinking.

Ahmad Danaeinia, the chairman of the Department of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts in Kashan, the prominent figure could have changed the pace of history if he had been able to live longer.

The official noted that British orientalist Robert Grant Watson wrote on Amir Kabir that among all politicians of Iran and the eastern world, whose names have been registered in the history books, Mirza Taghi Khan is a unique chief minister.

Seyfollah Aminian, a researcher of cultural and historical monuments, told IRNA that Amir Kabir fought the emergence of fake sects in Iran.

In the last years of Amir Kabir, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar exiled him to the prominent Fin Garden in Kashan and had him murdered.

Mirza Taghi Khan was born on January 9, 1807, in Arak and was killed on January 10, 1852, at the age of 45.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA

Iranian movie ‘Escargot’ to be screened in US

Tehran, IRNA – Short Iranian movie Escargot is scheduled to be screened in the 28th edition of the Slamdance Film Festival 2023 in the United States.

Escargot is the first film directed by Amin-Reza Ali-Mohammadi. The movie is also the only Iranian film to compete in the US festival.

Escargot is going to appear on screen in the presence of its filmmaker at the Park City in the western state of Utah on January 25, 2023.

Bahar Nohian, Ilia Akhavanrad and Ali-Reza Javid are the main characters of the Iranian movie.

The Slamdance Film Festival is one of the important events approved by the Oscar Academy, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Canada Screen Awards.

Christopher Nolan, British-American filmmaker, is one of the most important figures who have been discovered by the Slamdance Film Festival so far.

The Slamdance Film Festival is a showcase for raw and innovative filmmaking that lives and bleeds by its mantra: By Filmmakers, For Filmmakers.

The annual week-long festival takes place in Park City, Utah, in late January and is the main event organized by the year-round Slamdance organization, which also hosts events with an emphasis on independent films with budgets under US$1 million.

Escargot has been screened in Italy, Mexico, Turkey, Nigeria and some other countries thus far.

The Iranian movie’s screening will continue in January, March and April in Florida, Vienna and Tokyo.




Source: Islamic Republic News Agency – IRNA