Domestic Economy

Iran, Iraq Agree to Link Railroads

Iran, Iraq Agree to Link RailroadsIran, Iraq Agree to Link Railroads

Iranian and Iraqi officials agreed on Thursday to speed up the plan to link the two countries' rail networks in an attempt to facilitate the transfer of Iranian goods and pilgrims to Iraq, FNA reported.

During the meeting held in Tehran, Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi and his Iraqi counterpart Bayan Baqir Jabr al-Zubaydi agreed to broaden bilateral transportation cooperation.

"With the construction of only 32 kilometers of railway inside the Iraqi territory, Basra will be connected to Iran's railway, which would help Iranians reach Baghdad, Karbala and Kazmain by rail," the Iranian minister said.

"Iran has a vast rail network linked to Central Asia, China and Russia and if the 32-kilometer Shalamcheh-Basra railway will be constructed, Iraq can transfer goods and passengers to Russia and China and vice versa," Akhoundi added.

The Iraqi minister, for his part, instructed Head of Iraqi Railway Company Salam Jabr Saloum, who was also present at the meeting, to prepare a plan for the construction of the railway from Shalamcheh border town in Iran to Basra in Iraq.  

Iran holds a major share of the Iraqi market, exporting to that country cement and foodstuff among others.

Tehran-Baghdad relations took a new turn in the wake of the 2003 US invasion of Iraq that led to the overthrow former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

On January 2012, Iran and Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to increase cooperation in road, railway and air transportations as well as technical and engineering fields.

Under the 2012 MoU, the two sides agreed to facilitate bus travel and launch more direct flights between them. They also agreed to connect the two countries' railways through Khosravi and Shalamcheh border lines.

>>>Economic Cooperation Top Priority

 In a separate meeting with Bayan Baqir Jabr al-Zubaydi, Iran's Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani called for further economic cooperation between the two neighboring countries.

"Expansion of economic relations is a priority for both Tehran and Baghdad," Shamkhani said, lauding Iraqi government's efforts in their fight against the IS terrorist group, which has massacred thousands of civilians across the country since last year.

He added that both countries should expand mutual cooperation in rail, land, aerial and marine transportation, adding that both countries can work together to reconstruct the devastation inflicted by the terrorists upon Iraq.

Visiting Iraqi transportation minister, for his part, said that Iraq is seeking broader cooperation with its neighbors, including Iran. "Transportation can be a key area of cooperation between the two nations," he underlined.