Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iran/Iraq

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Iran/Iraq

Article excerpt

Iran's Arts, Culture Budget Up 73.8 Percent Next Fiscal Year

According to the Jan. 22 Tehran Times, a senior Iranian budget planner has announced that the budget bill for the 2003-- 2004 fiscal year allocates $523 million for cultural, artistic, youth and sports programs. Figures provided by Rajabali Khosroabadi, director-general of the government's Culture and Arts Affairs Department, indicate that the budget for the culture and arts sectors will be increased by 73.8 percent, while that for sports will rise 92.9 percent. Khosroabadi said the money will be used to offset overdue cinematography debts, build public libraries, organize cultural and arts festivals, and raise funds for women's social and cultural activities. Funds will also be spent on completing 200 cultural development projects, establishing 85 cultural centers, renovating the National Library and the National Iranian Film House, modernizing 950 gymnasiums, setting up 67 nationwide sports centers and building 2,000 schools.

Iran, India Oppose Iraq War

A visit to India by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami resulted in what the Indian Foreign Office called "a cent-per-cent success," according to the Jan. 28 Times of India. The two nations have signed an agreement on oil and gas cooperation, and Indian officials present for Khatami's departure noted that the Iranians left "visibly happy."

At a time when the threat of a US. war on Iraq looms large in the region, Indian minister of state for external affairs Digvijay Singh insisted that Tehran and New Delhi are "totally in agreement" on the Iraq crisis. "Both have the same perception," Singh said, "that the sovereignty and integrity of a nation should not be disturbed, that the people of that country should be allowed to decide their polity and that there should be no war. …

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