Strengthening Cultural Ties: Iran and Iraq at the 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World
In the heart of Qatar’s capital, Doha, the culture ministers of two historically rich nations, Iran and Iraq, have come together in a significant meeting. Mohammad Mahdi Esmaili of Iran and Ahmed Fakak of Iraq crossed paths during the 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World. The meeting was not a coincidence but a conscious effort to fortify the cultural bonds between these two nations, which possess a wealth of shared historical and cultural components.
Aligning Visions for Cultural Expansion
The ministers agreed on the necessity to further extend their cultural relations, emphasizing the depth of shared historical and cultural aspects between their countries. As nations with a history that dates back thousands of years, Iran and Iraq have an abundance of cultural and historical ties that bind them together. The ministers’ meeting underlined the importance of recognizing and nurturing these connections as a means of fostering understanding, cooperation, and peace in the region.
The ministers’ meeting took place on the sidelines of the 12th Conference of Ministers of Culture in the Islamic World. This conference is a biennial event organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO). The theme for this year’s conference is “toward renewing cultural action in the Islamic world”. The conference provides a platform for attendees to discuss a wide range of topics, including matters related to cultural development in the Islamic world.
Iran and Iraq: A Historical Perspective
There are numerous historical, religious and cultural ties that bind Iran and Iraq. Apart from sharing a lengthy border, both nations are predominantly Shiite Muslim and share centuries-long cultural and religious ties. Iran has been a significant player in Iraq since 2003, leveraging its shared cultural and religious ties to permeate Iraq’s political, security, economic, and religious spheres. This influence is not a recent development but is rooted in historical events and shared experiences, which have shaped the nations’ relations.
From a socio-economic perspective, Iraq relies heavily on Iran for a multitude of goods and commodities. In recent years, Iran’s exports to Iraq have included foodstuffs, liquid fuel, petrochemicals, construction materials, household appliances, and cars. This trade relationship has seen Iran become one of Iraq’s top trading partners, alongside China and Turkey. The volume of annual trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to billions of dollars.
Political Influence and Alliance
Iran’s influence extends beyond trade and into the political realm. Several of Iraq’s major Shiite politicians have close ties with Iran. These alliances have allowed Iran to broker alliances and governing coalitions, ensuring that Baghdad maintains a friendly stance towards Tehran. However, it’s worth noting that this influence has not been without controversy, with allegations of Iranian meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs and election processes.
The meeting of the culture ministers of Iran and Iraq underlines the continued importance of cultural diplomacy in fostering understanding and cooperation between nations. As the ministers agreed on the necessity to further strengthen their cultural relations, it sets the stage for a future of increased collaboration and cultural exchange between Iran and Iraq. However, the extent of this cooperation and its impact on the broader region remain to be seen.
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