At the stringing table, most of the women wear hijabs. Natives of Syria, Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, they have been in the U.S. less than two years, arriving in Houston through Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston's refugee services program. They speak Arabic, Farsi, Pashto or Dari. Which is to say, they sometimes speak with each other only slightly better than they can talk with me.
In the meeting, also attended by deputy culture ministers of Iran and Slovokia, Salehi Amiri said agreement to hold cultural week, active participation in art and book fairs, cinematic cooperation and cultural diplomacy are among the provisions of the MoU signed between the two countries.
Could the missile strikes on Syria enhance U.S. soft power? Philip Seib considers the possibility at the CPD Blog.
All told, the Kingdom’s prioritization of its economic reform agenda, its interdependence with regional trade partners, and political uncertainty in the United States point to a period of heightened focus on Asia ties in the immediate future. However, Vision 2030’s dizzying ambition of overhauling subsidies and public sector reliance, coupled with channeling a massive, increasingly well-educated youth population into a fledgling knowledge economy, will necessitate that the Saudis cast a wide net to capture as much foreign investment and diversified revenue as possible.
During the meeting, the two ministers stressed on all-out expansion of ties in areas like politics, economy, and culture. “We are ready to cooperate in areas like cinema, music, culture, and art,” reassured the Iranian minister. “The areas of extensive cooperation are ready however it may be labeled badly or sabotaged.” Mr. Salehi Amiri boasted the success of Iranian cinema in the world and called for close cooperation for producing joint cinematic works.
Less than a year after the landmark nuclear deal came into effect, Iran was on the verge of another unlikely diplomatic breakthrough. And one of the country's most powerful arsenals remains locked away deep in the bowels of a dimly lit state-owned building in Tehran, hidden from the world's eyes. Some might call that a tragedy. Because by any measure, the collection held at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is exceptional, the greatest outside the West.
Another area in which Iranian soft power is uncontested is in the construction of museums to promote its world view. In the aftermath of the Iran hostage crisis, Iranian authorities transformed the former US embassy into a museum to illustrate both supposed Iranian victories over America as well as grievances against the United States.
All in all, Salman’s Asian official visit-cum-holiday is likely to reverberate far beyond the billions of dollars in economic and commercial agreements he signs. The visit also solidified cooperation between Asian nations and Saudi Arabia in the fight against IS.