Referring to the friendly relations between Iran and Iraq in various sectors, the president emphasised the need for efforts to develop, strengthen and consolidate the full-scale relations between Tehran and Baghdad.
Speaking at the meeting of high-ranking delegations of Iran and Iraq on Saturday, Dr Hassan Rouhani said, “We are pleased that today, a person in Iraq is elected as the president who is fully aware of the issues in the region and the two countries" relations”.
The president said that Iran-Iraq relations have been brotherly in recent years, adding, “The presence of the Iranian people at the ceremony of Arba"een and the hospitality of the Iraqi government and people have strengthened the relations between the two countries”.
Dr Rouhani said, "The business relations between the two countries are currently about $12 billion annually, which we hope will increase to $20 billion a year in the short run”.
The president continued, “Facilitating joint ventures and development of trade and business will develop Tehran-Baghdad economic and commercial relations”.
Dr Rouhani highlighted the visit of the Iraqi President to Tehran as a new step in the development of all-embracing relations between the two countries in various fields, saying, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is aware of its responsibility of neighbourliness and brotherhood with the Iraqi government and nation”.
“We have no doubt that the Iraq’s success in creating full security and development will be in the interest of the two countries, nations and the region,” he continued.
The president added, "The Iranian government and nation will support the Iraqi government and nation in its development and progress”.
Referring to the unjust US sanctions against the Iranian nation, Dr Rouhani said, "It has now been proved that Americans are never at the power they think and they should know well that Iran and Iraq have historic and profound relations”.
He said, “The US government is now acting against international agreements and UN resolutions and will surely regret this path”.
Dr Rouhani stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran was ready to deepen its relations with Iraq in various sectors, including gas, electricity, oil, infrastructure development, and rail, saying, “The operation of linking the Shalamcheh railroad to Basra is possible in the near future that it can be easily used to the development of business relations between the two countries”.
The president described the work done in dredging Arvand River, adding, “We are ready to develop cooperation with Iraq in order to create a free trade and industrial zone, and we hope that the Joint Commission of Cooperation will have good plans for this”.
Dr Rouhani described cooperation in the field of environment and said, “With close cooperation, we need to fight the dust and work desertification in Southern Iraq and Iran”.
Stressing the importance of working to promote regional peace and stability, the President added, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is willing to establish brotherly, close relations with all its neighbours”.
What we have witnessed in the recent years in the region has not had any fruit except plundering and destruction of the countries, of the region, he said, adding, “As two important and effective countries in the region, Iran and Iraq can have a significant role in regional peace and stability”.
At the same meeting, President Barham Salih of Iraq said, “Iraq will not be part of the sanctions mechanism and hostile policies against Iran”.
He also went on to say, “We call for the formation of a joint task force and practical projects for dust mitigation, desertification and the use of water resources”.