Speaking on the sidelines of the gathering of Iranian ambassadors, he told IRNA that President Mohammad Khatami has approved the proposal for establishing an organization for Iranian expatriates.
Concerning the funds to be allocated for cultural activities overseas, he said that based on the proposal of Management and Planning Organization (MPO), efforts were made to allocate the maximum possible fund to the Islamic Culture and Communications Organization (ICCO).
Putting ICCO last year's credits at 142 billion rials, he said that an additional 55.142 billion rials was extended by President Khatami following the submission of regular reports to the effect.
"Besides it was decided to add the equivalent fund to ICCO's budget every year," he added.
Turning to cultural exchanges with other countries, the minister said, "The policy of Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is based on expansion of cooperation with regional states in the fields of culture and art, particularly with ECO member countries."
He noted that for the first time the theater festival of ECO member states was held in Tehran last year.
"According to an agreement, the Caspian culture and art festival is scheduled to be held in Tehran in September. The event will cover various arts including music, theater and photography.
"The festival will be held in northern provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Golestan. It will be attended by Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan," he concluded.
... Payvand News - 8/18/04 ... --