Date :Sunday, November 18th, 2018 | Time : 00:47 |ID: 78122 | Print

Barham Salih in Iran: one step forward to strengthen Tehran-Baghdad political and economic relations

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SHAFAQNA- Tehran and Baghdad had agreed to create a free trade zone, the Iranian President Rouhani said at a meeting of high-ranking delegations of Iran and Iraq on Saturday.

About Barham Salih visit to Tehran and 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 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.

President Rouhani also said that the two agreed to establish a free trade zone for joint industrial cooperation.

Referring to the unjust US sanctions against the Iranian nation, Rouhani said, “it is now proved that Americans have never been at the power they think they are and they should know well that Iran and Iraq have historic and profound relations with one another”, Mehr News reported.

The US government is now acting against international agreements and UN resolutions and will surely come to regret this approach, he added.

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.

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.

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.

Turning to the regional developments, the Iranian 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, IRNA reported.

Iraq never forgets Iran’s support

“Iraq will never forget Iran’s support in fighting Saddam regime and terrorists in the country”, the Iraqi president said at press conference .

Barham Salih, said Iran has played a major role in defeating the terrorists.

“Today I have brought you a clear message from Baghdad. We understand the importance of relations with Iran and the economic, cultural and political ties between the two countries are deep-rooted,” he went on to say.

Salih declared that the relationship between the two neighbouring countries is a “fixed principle” that is “rooted in shared history, faith and geography”.

Salih also pledged to improve ties, and suggested the formation of a “new regional system” including Iraq and Iran, one based on “political integrity, national interests and cooperation between nations and governments, Washington post mentioned.

“We care about our relationship with Iran,” Salih declared. He also said, “The two nations of Iran and Iraq have played a role in several major regional events, and we will not forget your support for the Iraqi people during the war with Saddam.”

Salih met Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Later in the day, Salih met Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who urged for unity among the two countries and said Iraqis should resist foreign intervention.

“Some governments in the region and beyond the region have a strong grudge toward Islam, Shiite and Sunni, and interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq,” said Supreme Leader. “The impudent and clear enemy must be strongly resisted.” He did not name any country.

US plans against Iran-Iraq ties to go nowhere

Iraqi President Barham Salih met Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) in Tehran on Saturday.

“Repeated plots by the US and some regional reactionary governments to disrupt friendly relations between Iran and Iraq will go nowhere”, according to Ali Shamkhani.

“The new political and governing conditions of Iraq have created new chances for deepening relations between the two friendly and neighboring countries”, Shamkani said.

He hailed efforts by the Iraqi Army and security forces, particularly those by al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), which led to the annihilation of the biggest threat of the region, and said, “Today the countries that are not satisfied with destruction of terrorism in Iraq aim to undermine the country’s solidarity and unity.”

Now that the US has failed to use terrorism as a tool for destroying the broad capacities of the regional countries, Washington is seeking to use sanctions and imposition of direct pressure against independent countries, Shamkhani said.

The Iraqi president, for his part, hailed Iran’s continued support for Iraq in the fight against terrorism.

Salih said that Iraq is sensitive about counter-security and destructive measures followed by some countries to create insecurity and instability in Iraq, and will fight with any efforts to hamper the unity of the two countries.

He said that Baghdad would not let any country or group use Iraq for damaging the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Strong, shared commitment to win-win in all neighborly relation

“Constructive exchanges on next steps to work together towards regional peace & security. Strong, shared commitment to win-win in all neighborly relations. Our priority is our region”,  Javad Zarif said in his tweet over Salih’s visit in Iran.

Salih’s two-day visit in Iran comes less than two weeks after the United States reimposed oil sanctions on Iran. Iraq is Iran’s second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas, ALJAZEERA reported.

The U.S. has granted Iraq a 45-day waiver to allow it to continue to purchase gas and electricity from Iran. Salih said Iraq should not be “a field for struggle between conflicting demands and wills.”

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