Iran, Iraq Presidents Discuss Expansion of Ties in Tehran
EghtesadOnline: President Hassan Rouhani on Saturday held a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih in Tehran where they discussed a wide range of issues including expansion of bilateral trade, setting up a free trade zone on the border between the two countries, linking rail networks and tackling environmental problems.
Speaking at a joint press conference, Rouhani said that the total volume of bilateral trade between the two neighboring country could increase significantly. “Currently, trade between Iran and Iraq amounts to nearly $12 billion…taking the wide capacities of the two countries into account, the number could increase to $20 billion,” president’s website quoted him as saying.
“We also agreed to establish a free trade zone on the border between the two countries,” Rouhani said, “Joint-venture industrial units could be launched in the zone…the joint economic commission can start working on the issue.”
According to the President, grounds are prepared for construction of the railroad linking Shalamcheh in Iran’s Khuzestan Province to Iraq’s Basra, which is set to help foster tourism and business ties between the two countries.”
According to Financial Tribune, residents of western and southern areas of Iran are struggling with the dust issue, he said, “This issue should be resolved through cooperation between the two countries.”
Iraqi President promised that he would personally pursue the issue of dust, he added.
President of Iraq Barham Salih also said, “The deep bonds between the two countries have linked the two nations.”
“We attach great weight to the relations between the two countries,” he said, adding, “We want these relations to have better conditions than now and this is what both nations and the region deserve.”