0828 GMT July 21 2017
Although Brazil and Iran are geographically very far from each other, the two countries' people have a lot of cultural similarities, said the Brazilian ambassador to Iran.
Speaking to Iran Daily, Rodrigo de Azeredo Santos also touched on cooperation and relations between the two countries in the fields of culture, tourism, education and foreign policy.
Excerpts of the interview follow:
IRAN DAILY: What are the similarities between Brazilian and Iranian people?
RODRIGO DE AZEREDO SANTOS: Although Brazil and Iran are geographically very far from each other, the people of the two countries have a lot of similarities in terms of their cultures and the way they react to foreigners. They are very hospitable, nice and easygoing.
Upon meeting each other, Brazilians and Iranians feel their remarkable similarities.
Brazilians and Iranians are very family-oriented compared to other countries in other regions. Unfortunately, they do not know a lot about each other. That is why efforts are underway by us to increase Iranians' knowledge of Brazil.
We would like to present all the aspects of Brazilian culture, such as literature and art, to Iranians.
Iran has a fantastic cinema. Plans are underway by the Brazilian Embassy in Iran to hold a week of the Brazilian cinema in the Iranian capital of Tehran. We have invited a very famous Brazilian director, Carlos Diegues — also known as Cacá Diegues — to come to Iran and take part in the event. Diegues, known as the father of modern Brazilian cinema and a member of the Cinema Novo movement, has accepted the invitation.
During the week a number of seminars and discussions are planned. We also intend to show some of the movies by the director and hold meetings between him and Iranian cineastes.
Brazilians and Iranians are also very creative. Street art in Iranian cities is really great. There are a large number of paintings and graffiti, by Iranian artists, on the walls in Tehran's streets and alleys. We also intend to bring Brazilian graffitists to Iran and provide them with the opportunity to meet their Iranian counterparts and perhaps begin cooperation in a project here. This, however, should be discussed with Tehran's municipality in advance.
The Brazilian cuisine is also very nice. We would also like to invite Brazilian chefs to have a week in restaurants in Tehran.
Are there any other cultural plans underway by the two countries?
Iran has a very rich culture. Brazil has a rich literature. We would like to promote the exchange of literary works with Iran. A number of books by a Brazilian author are currently being translated into Persian.
Would you please talk about tourism cooperation between the two states?
We would also like to encourage Iranians to go to Brazil. The visa application is very easy. The number of tourists to Brazil is increasing daily. Over the past few years, Brazil hosted the World Cup and Olympics. This helped increase the number of foreign tourists, especially from Iran, to the country.
We are in contact with tourism companies and agents in Brazil that would like to bring Brazilian tourists to Iran. Brazilian visitors are showing clear and avid interest in traveling to Iran. They know about Persian culture and tradition, Iran's history, Persepolis [in Fars province] and Isfahan.
We would love to have a direct flight between Brazil and Iran. Talks are underway in this regard.
What are the barriers to expanding cultural cooperation between the two sides?
The barriers are mostly financial such as meeting the expenses involved in bringing people from Brazil to Iran.
What about the two countries' collaboration in the field education?
In the framework of a project financed by the Brazilian Ministry of Education, the country's universities are offering graduation and post-graduation courses for foreign students, particularly those from Iran. Iran is on our priority list. We would like to see Iranian students going to Brazil. Iranian students' placement in Brazilian universities is guaranteed. Prior to entering the university and taking the courses, in case needed, the students are offered six-month Portuguese courses. They can study whatever they like. We plan to bring a number of Brazilian professors to Tehran to teach Portuguese here.
We offer scholarships in post-graduation course. This project is aimed at establishing long-term and lasting relationships between Iranian students and Brazilian universities.
What do Brazilians know about Iran? What are their frequently-asked questions about Iran?
Some business people know about the potentials of Iran's economy. They know that the country is a big market.
I always tell my people that there are a lot of things that they should know about Iran.
However, when they see me, Brazilians mostly ask me questions about security in Iran, the way Iranian men and women dress in public places and the best places to visit.
How do you evaluate security in Iran?
Despite the ongoing crises and instabilities in the region, Iran is a very secure country. I have always told Brazilians that there are not any security problems in Iran. Tehran is absolutely secure. The security of the Iranian capital is far greater than that of regional metropolises and some of the European capitals in terms of terrorism and urban violence.
How do you see the role of Iranian women in the society?
Compared to women in other countries of the region, Iranian women play a very important role in the society. Iranian women are involved in a wide array of social activities.
Would you please comment on Iran's foreign policy?
We are paying great attention to the good developments of Iran's foreign policy. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif are actively seeking to solve the country's problems through diplomacy and holding dialogue. Brazilian diplomacy in foreign policy is also very similar to that of Iran.
Like Brazil in Latin America, Iran is also a regional power.