Arbaeen March and Its Effect on Iran's Soft Power in Iraq:Practice Theory

Document Type : Science - Research


1 Assistant Professor, Department of of International Relations, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, IRAN.

2 Master of International Relations, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, IRAN.


The Arbaeen procession has gradually become a cultural and social factor in Iran-Iraq relations. Every year, millions of Iranian people go to Iraq to participate in the Arbaeen procession, showing different kinds of social and cultural interactions with Iraqi people. In addition, this religous practice can have impacts on Iran-Iraq political interaction, which is not properly addressed in the academic research. Based on this assumption, the article probe the effects of Arbaeen march on Iran's soft power in Iraq. The role of practice in foreign policy has been analyzed by some IR scholars like Iver Neumann. However, in recent years, there is a practice turn in international relations theory which emphasizes the importance of practice analysis, complementing discourse analysis. This article investigates the effects of Arbaeen procession on Iran's soft power in Iraq by using the conceptual concept of practice theory. In this article, data have been collected from books, reports and articles regarding this subject. More importantly, first-hand data have been collected and analyzed through interviews with Iranian and Iraqi elites and officials engaged in the Arbaeen procession. The article found that the Arbaeen procession strengthens Iran's soft power in Iraq by creating social ties between two countries and triggers cooperation between Iran and some Iraqi Shiite groups to manage the ceremony.


Main Subjects

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