President Rouhani described relations between Iran and Iraq in cultural, historical and regional fields, as well as national interests very important and special, saying: “Currently, the business exchanges between Iran and Iraq are around $12 billion, which can increase to $20 billion with regard to the potentials in the two countries”.
Speaking in a joint press conference with the President of Iraq Barham Salih on Saturday in Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani said, “All current Iraqi officials have had cooperation of more than 30 years in fighting dictatorship in Iraq and establishing security in the country”.
“In this meeting, the two sides discussed the relations between the two countries and stressed the development of political, cultural and economic relations with regard to the potentials,” added Rouhani.
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran also said, “Today, we discussed a range of topics including exchange of electricity, gas, oil products and discovering and extracting oil and linking the two countries" railways from the west and south”.
He also referred to the meeting of high-raking delegations of Iran and Iraq and said, “In this meeting, we discussed the relations between the two countries in political, cultural and economic fields”.
“The prerequisites of linking the Shalamcheh railroad to Basra have been set and it is possible in the near future that it can be easily used for the development of business relations between the two countries,” Dr Rouhani added.
He also went on to refer to the environmental issues and said, “Today, a part of our people living in western and southern borders are facing the dust issue and this issue should be resolved through cooperation between the two countries”.
The President expressed his satisfaction with the promise of the President of Iraq that the Iraqi President promised that he would personally pursue the issue of dust, saying, “Undoubtedly, as the two countries succeeded in helping to save people from ISIL, they are now also helping to save the people of the two countries from the dust”.
He also mentioned creation of a free trade zone between the two countries as another topic that was discussed in the meeting of the high-ranking delegations of Iran and Iraq and said, “In this free zone, we can form joint industries and this important issue was agreed by the two countries”.
“Iran and Iraq consider strengthening security and stability in the region beneficial for the peoples of the region and believe that the countries of the region are able to establish regional security and stability without the need for the intervention of foreigners,” he continued.
He then expressed hope that through joint efforts by the countries of the region, especially Iran and Iraq, security and stability would strengthen in the region, the war in Yemen would end, and security and stability be restored to Syria and the entire region”.
At the end of his speech, Dr Rouhani stressed that Iran considers the security and development of Iraq as its own security and development.
At the same joint press conference, President of Iraq Barham Salih said, “The deep bonds between the two countries have linked the two nations”.
The two Iranian and Iraqi nations have supported each other in many important issues in the region, he said, adding, “We do not forget you supporting the people of Iraq in fighting Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship”.