The development of cultural tourism depends on the interaction of a wide variety of factors. On the other hand, considering the fact that the process of cultural tourism is influenced by Politics and that cultural heritage is regarded as a constructive source for cultural tourism, it could be argued that the success of cultural tourism is contingent upon the interaction of Politics and cultural heritage, between which interpretation can act as an intervening factor to establish such an interaction, playing different roles in this regard. This study, therefore, sought to investigate the functions of interpretation as a factor that establish an interaction between politics and cultural heritage and identify the status of such functions in this regard to help the IRI’s cultural tourism benefit from them.
To this end, such potential functions were identified by reviewing the related literature and analyzing the qualified experts’ opinions as follows: recalling the spatial identity of historical sites, learning from the ancestors’ works and history, altering the politicians' attitudes towards cultural heritage, strengthening national identity, preserving the historical sites’ structure and spirit, bringing the stakeholders of historical sites closer to each other, fighting against racism and ethnocentrism, correcting historical misunderstandings, converging different cultures, and developing mutual understanding between politicians and the public. Moreover, the surveying phase of the study identified the aggregate opinions of experts concerning the priority of the aforementioned functions using the fuzzy Delphi method.
The study’s results revealed that recalling the spatial identity of historical sites, strengthening national identity, and preserving the historical sites’ structure and spirit were those potential functions of interpretation in the interaction between politics and cultural tourism in which the experts had the highest consensus.