Development of ties on top of Iraqi PM’s visit to Iran: expert

July 22, 2020 - 20:39

TEHRAN - International affairs expert Sabah Zangeneh has said that development of ties with Iran is on top of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s visit to Tehran.

He told IRNA in an interview published on Wednesday that Iran-Iraq relations are so intertwined that no side can sideline the other.

However, Zanganeh said, the United States has been seeking to weaken relations between Iran and Iraq. But, he added, it will not succeed.

Kadhimi arrived in Tehran on Tuesday. He met with President Hassan Rouhani and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei among other officials.

Several senior Iraqi officials including Minister of Finance and Prime Minister Assistant for Economic and Energy Affairs Ali Abdul Amir Allawi, Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein, Petroleum Minister Ehsan Abdul Jabar, Health Minister Hassan Mohammad al-Tamimi, Minister of Planning Khaled Battal, Defense Minister Joma Enad, Electricity Minister Majed Hantoush, National Security Advisor Qassem al-Araji and Head of Trade Bank of Iraq Faisal al-Haimus were accompanying the prime minister on his first visit to a foreign country since taking office. 

Rouhani said that Iran and Iraq wish to increase bilateral trade to $20 billion up from the current $12 billion. 
“The two nations are willing to increase the trade between the two countries to $20 billion. The two countries are also determined to implement all terms of the agreements approved by the two governments in March 2019 in Baghdad,” Rouhani said at a joint press conference with al-Kadhimi.
The president noted that these agreements include economic infrastructure projects such as dredging Arvand Roud border waterway and completing the railway project connecting the Iraqi city of Basra and the Iranian city of Shalamcheh. 
Rouhani also added that al-Kadhimi assumed office in “very sensitive circumstances”, however, trade ties between Iran and Iraq have witnessed a “good” improvement over the past few months of al-Kadhimi’s premiership. 
For his part, al-Kadhimi told reporters that his visit to Tehran was aimed at strengthening ties between Iran and Iraq. 

“The Iraqi people are eager to have cooperative relations with Iran on the basis of the principle of non-interference in internal affairs,” Al-Jazeera news network quoted al-Kadhimi as saying. 
The prime minister added, “We fought against terrorism and Takfiri groups, and Iran was the first country to stand by Iraq in this fight. We will not forget this. That’s why Iraq is standing by Iran so that it tackles its economic challenges. Iraq has become a market for Iranian goods.” 

NA/PA

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