Iran, Iraq ink deal on completing Shalamcheh-Basra railway

December 27, 2021 - 13:15

TEHRAN - Iranian Minister of Transport and Urban Development Rostam Qasemi has announced the signing of a deal between the Islamic Republic and Iraq for completing the Shalamcheh-Basra railway, the news portal of the ministry reported.

The connection of the railway from Iran’s southwestern Shalamcheh to Basra province in Iraq has been among the issues pursued by the governments of the two countries for many years.

The contract was signed on the sidelines of Qasemi’s visit to Iraq, during which he held talks with Iraqi counterpart Nasser Hussein Bandar Al-Shibli, President Barham Salih, and Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Elaborating on the details of the deal, Qasemi said: “The agreement has a clear timetable, and one of its clauses is that implementation of the project will actually begin within the next month.”

“For almost 20 years, we have had numerous negotiations with the Iraqi side to implement Shalamcheh-Basra railway, and there were even many memorandums signed in different periods, which never reached the desired result,” Qasemi said.

“We agreed to start the primary study and implementation of this project within the next month, which is practically a big step for Iran and Iraq to expand trade, and increase freight and passenger exchanges, which is important for both countries,” he added.

Qasemi noted that the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (known as RAI) and the Iraqi Republic Railways will implement the project together and a joint venture will be established within two months.

By linking railways with Iran, Iraq is going to also access Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and the northern regions, including the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Far East.

Mentioning his meetings with Barham Salih and Al-Kadhimi, the Iranian minister said the two sides have also discussed the facilitation of the presence of Iranian companies in the Iraqi market.

Iranian companies will have a more active role in the reconstruction of Iraq, he said.

“During the meeting with the Iraqi president, talks were held on the general issues of relations between the two countries and the increase of trade and support for the Shalamcheh-Basra project, as well as air transportation between the two countries and it was decided to double the number of flights between the two countries,” Qasemi explained.

“We also discussed road transportation between the two countries and various other issues, which we hope will be supported by the Prime Minister and the President of Iraq,” he added.


Photo: Iranian Transport Minister Rostam Qasemi (R) and Iraqi counterpart Nasser Hussein Bandar Al-Shibli signing contract documents on Sunday

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