Iran ready to develop coop. with Iraq to create free trade zone

TEHRAN, Nov. 17 (MNA) – Iranian President Rouhani said at a meeting of high-ranking delegations of Iran and Iraq on Sat. that Tehran is ready to develop cooperation with Baghdad for the establishment of a free trade and industrial zone.

Speaking at the meeting of high-ranking delegations of Iran and Iraq on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani noted the amicable ties between the two countries, adding that business relations between the two sides are currently about $12 billion annually, which will hopefully 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”.

Rouhani highlighted the visit of the Iraqi President to Tehran as a new step in the development of all-out relations between the two countries in various fields, saying, “the Islamic Republic of Iran is aware of its responsibility of neighborliness and brotherhood with the Iraqi government and nation.”

“We have no doubt that Iraq’s success in achieving full security and development will be in the interest of the two countries, nations and the region,” he added, voicing support for Iraqi government and nation on this path.

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.”

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

Rouhani stated that Iran was ready to deepen its relations with Iraq in various sectors, including gas, electricity, oil, infrastructure development, and rail, saying, “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.”

“As two important and effective countries in the region, Iran and Iraq can have a significant role in regional peace and stability,” Rouhani stressed.

At the same meeting, Iraqi President Barham Salih said that Iraq will not be part of the sanctions mechanism and hostile policies against Iran.

He then called for the formation of a joint task force and practical projects for dust mitigation, desertification and the use of water resources.

MS/PR

News Code 139680

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