November 17, 2018 - 15:48 AMT
Iran wants better ties with Iraq, Rouhani says

Tehran and Baghdad should continue promoting cultural, economic and political cooperation as there are great capacities in the two countries for developing bilateral relations, the Iranian president said here on Saturday, November 17, accordibg to IRNA.

Both countries boast of of three-decade fight against hegemonic powers, President Hassan Rouhani said at a joint press conference with his visiting Iraqi counterpart Barham Salih in the Iranian capital.

President Salih at the head of a high ranking delegation arrived in Tehran on Saturday morning. Later, he was officially welcomed by President Rouhani.

About today’s talks between Iranian and Iraqi delegations, President Rouhani said that the two sides reviewed bilateral cooperation and stressed the importance of continuing relations in the areas of culture, economy and politics.

The president further said that the two sides also discussed exchange of electricity and oil products.

Shalamcheh-Basra rail road project was also among the issues discussed by the two sides, the president said adding that the preliminary measures have been taken for the project, and the Iranian company will start it as soon as the Iraqi side takes due measures.

Implementation of the 35-km Shalamcheh-Basra rail road project will facilitate travel between both countries, during Arbaeen rituals in particular, the Iranian president said.

The president went on to say that the value of economic cooperation between the two countries stands at 12 billion dollars annually that can reach 20 billion dollars.

On the issue of environment, President Rouhani said that some Iranian people have been suffering from dust storms in southern and western parts of the country neighboring Iraq.

As the Iraqi side has promised, the problem will be solved through bilateral cooperation, the president added.

About the today's talks, President Rouhani also said that the two agreed to establish a free trade zone for joint industrial cooperation.

Touching upon the security questions, the president said “We consider Iraq’s security and development as our own.”

Both Iran and Iraq believe that security and peace in the region benefit all, he stressed.

Turning to the regional developments, the president hoped that the unjust and destructive war against Yemen would end, and security and peace would be brought back to the crisis-stricken Syria and the whole region as well.

The Iranian president stressed the need to further strengthen Tehran-Baghdad political and economic relations.

Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS