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EghtesadOnline: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, who arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for a two-day visit, held meetings with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and other top officials to discuss mutual ties and regional developments.

The details of the meeting between the Leader and the top Iraqi official will be published in the Wednesday edition of Financial Tribune. 

In a joint press conference with the Iraqi prime minister earlier in the day, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran and Iraq are determined to improve the level of bilateral trade to $20 billion as already agreed between the two governments in 2019.

“Both countries are determined to implement all the terms of agreements reached between the two governments in March 2019 in Baghdad, which included infrastructural economic affairs, Shalamcheh-Basra railroad project and the dredging of Arvandroud [border] river,” Rouhani was quoted as saying by President.ir. 

The president applauded the fact that mutual trade has developed since al-Kadhimi began his tenure in May. 

The Iraqi premier expressed hope that the agreements will soon be implemented so that both nations can enjoy their positive outcomes. 

He said Iran-Iraq relations do not stem only from their geographical location and shared borders, but are based on their historical, cultural and religious commonalities.

“Under the current circumstances, given the challenges arising from the coronavirus pandemic and the drop in oil prices, it is essential to expand existing cooperation in line with the interests of both nations,” al-Kadhimi said.   

The two officials also discussed the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the region, with Iran vowing to assist its neighbor with the supply of health and medical products.  

Rouhani expressed Iran’s readiness to stand by the Iraqi people and government to protect their security and stability as it did during the fight against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group. 

Al-Kadhimi appreciated Iran’s prompt response to terrorist threats in Iraq, saying Baghdad will also stand by Iran to overcome its economic difficulties. 

They also exchanged views about regional security and the role Iraq can play in this regard as a strong Arab nation. 

The Iraqi prime minister said a strong and stable Iran would serve the interests of not only Baghdad, but also the entire region. 

“Iraq is a country that would never allow any threat to emanate from its territories against Iran,” he said. 

Both officials described the meeting as a turning point in their bilateral relations. 

Al-Kadhimi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday morning at the head of a high-ranking delegation and was received by Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian at Tehran’s Mehrabad International Airport. 

The Iraqi ministers of foreign affairs, oil, electricity, finance, defense and health as well as the advisor of Iraq’s National Security Council are accompanying the prime minister in this visit. 

After private meetings, delegations of the two countries began discussions in a meeting co-chaired by al-Kadhimi and First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri. 

The Iraqi prime minister is also set to hold talks with Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani during his stay.  

This is his first trip to Iran since rising to premiership in May. He took the position after the former prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, resigned under pressure due to anti-government protests.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had earlier travelled to Baghdad to make arrangements for his visit.

 

Iraq Seyyed Ali Khamenei Mustafa al-Kadhimi