Saudi Arabia and Iran, two major regional powers bordering Iraq, have been a focal point for talks between competing Iraqi factions since the March 7 elections. Damascus, a crucial player in regional politics, is keen not to be overshadowed by Tehran and Riyadh.
In addition to the U.S., as a regional power and non-permanent UN Security Council member, Turkey's stance on the issue is crucial. Turkey leads the camp favoring another attempt at a mutually agreed-upon resolution.
The BBC has issued an apology for distorting the name of the Persian Gulf in one of its travel programmes, insisting it was a “genuine mistake” for calling the waterway the ‘Arabian Gulf.’
Panelists asserted that even in the face of severe government repression, the vibrancy of Iran’s blogosphere is offering the international community opportunities to develop citizen diplomacy and people-to-people connections with Iranians.
100,000 tourists came from Iran to Azerbaijan on the eve of Novruz holiday, Azerbaijani ambassador to Iran Javanshir Akhundov informed. “Cultural relations, love remove borders. The relations between the two countries are strengthening. The religion, language and culture of the peoples of the two countries help them communicate easily,” he said.
The United States looks short of Iran options. Even President Barack Obama acknowledges that new sanctions might fail, but has not laid out another plan.
Considering the current relationship between the countries, it is not odd for the United States to be cautious of Iran's cultural influence, but one should be aware of the fact that Iran's approach to public diplomacy and its infrastructure is much different from a simple image-making or policy advocacy method.
Recent public diplomacy reports and testimonies released by both congress and government policy makers in Washington indicate concerns over Iran's growing cultural influence. It was a year ago when Senate Foreign Relations Committee's report warned about the growing number of Islamic Republic's Cultural Centers.