Iran Eyes $20bln Trade with Iraq
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran and Iraq can increase their annual trade from the current $12 billion to $20 billion.
Speaking at a joint press conference with his Iraqi counterpart in Tehran on Saturday, Rouhani said the value of trade and economic interaction between Tehran and Baghdad stands at around $12 billion, adding that the two neighbors have the potential for a $20-billion trade target.
He said high-ranking delegations from the two countries have discussed ways for cooperation in the energy, power and oil industry, including the extraction of petroleum, and a plan to connect the two countries’ railroad networks.
The rail connection between Iran’s Shalamcheh and Iraq’s Basra would facilitate transportation of commodities and travels between the two countries, he added.
The Iranian president also said Iran and Iraq will successfully address the problem of dust particles in the same way that they defeated the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group together.
He further announced plans for the establishment of a free trade zone at Iran-Iraq common border, saying the two sides could set up joint industries in the zone.
Rouhani hoped that cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad would contribute to regional security and stability and peaceful settlement of the war on Yemen and the Syria crisis.
Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived in Tehran on Saturday with a ranking delegation for a series of political and economic talks.
On October 3, Iraq’s parliament elected Kurdish politician Salih as president. He immediately picked a prime minster, ending months of deadlock after a national election in May.
Salih, 58, is a British-educated engineer who has held office in both the Iraqi federal and Kurdish regional governments.