Rouhani: Iran ready to boost energy trade with Iraq

April 6, 2019 - 18:0

TEHRAN – President Hassan Rouhani says Iran is ready to expand its gas and electricity trade with neighboring Iraq, a move which he said would also benefit other countries.

“The plans to export Iran’s electricity, gas and oil to Iraq will continue and we are ready to expand these contacts, which would provide facilities for other countries as well,” Rouhani said on Saturday after a meeting with visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, ISNA reported.

Rouhani expressed hope that financial relations between Tehran and Baghdad would further develop in the near future and that work on building a railway linking the two countries, under a deal reached in March, would begin within the next few months.

“We also hope that the two countries’ trade relations would reach $20 million as soon as possible,” he remarked.

Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi arrived in Tehran on Saturday morning at the head of a high-ranking economic and political delegation. He was accompanied by ministers of oil, finance, foreign affairs, planning, commerce, energy as well as national security advisor, army chief of staff, deputy interior minister, and a number of parliamentarians.

The visit came after Rouhani’s landmark visit to Iraq in March which marked the signing of several memorandums of understanding for expansion of cooperation in key sectors and meeting with top political and religious figures.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi says close ties between Tehran and Baghdad should set an example to other countries.

With a 1,400-kilometer-long joint border, Iraq has turned into a strategic ally and an important trade partner for Iran in recent years.

Iraq’s huge energy reserves and a large, diverse market bestow it a special place in the economic equations of the region.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani emphasized that security is among the top priorities of the two sides, saying Tehran and Baghdad will intensify the fight against terrorism, narcotics and smuggling.

“We have common views on many regional issues,” Rouhani said, adding, “Al Quds will remain the permanent capital of Palestine and the Golan [Heights] will remain an integral part of Syria.”

He further said the war in Yemen should end immediately through a political solution.

 Abdul Mahdi: Iran has greatly helped Iraq in fighting terrorism

For his part, Abdul Mahdi said the Islamic Republic has made great contributions to Iraq’s fight against terrorism, to the extent that “today we are witnessing peace and stability.”

He voiced satisfaction over his visit to Iran as a friendly neighboring country, saying the close ties between Tehran and Baghdad should set an example to other countries.

The Iraqi prime minister also pointed to the recent floods across Iran, saying, “We have said in the past and emphasize today that we will stand beside the Iranian nation in good or bad conditions and offer our condolences to you over the tragic flood incident.”

He said his country faces similar problems due to floods, adding that Iran and Iraq face common problems at the same time, including floods and droughts.


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