Pres. Rouhani‘s Iraq visit ‘turning point’ in bilateral ties: envoy

TEHRAN, Mar. 09 (MNA) – The Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi says that President Hassan Rouhni's upcoming visit to Baghdad will be a turning point in Iran-Iraq relations and will cover a host of bilateral issues.

Speaking on the sidelines of the demise anniversary of the grand Shia Marja' Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim in Baghdad on Saturday, Masjedi said that necessary grounds have been provided for Rouhani’s visit to Iraq, which is slated for Monday.

He said that the Iranian president will head a political and economic delegation to Iraq for his three-day visit (March 11-13) to discuss various issues with the Iraqi officials.

According to the diplomat, Rouhani will meet a number of senior Iraqi figures including the Iraqi president, prime minister, speaker of the Council of Representatives of Iraq, and the great Shia Marja' Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Najaf. 

Referring to the strengthening of political, economic, cultural and social relations between two sides as the purpose of Rouhani’s visit to the neighboring country, he said there is a great deal of cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad, but strengthening this cooperation will be the focus of the president's trip.

Majedi noted that the visit will include Khorramshahr-Basra Railway project, the expansion of industrial settlements, visa waiver for Iraqi and Iranian citizens, and the customs and healthcare cooperation.

The Iranian ambassador also noted that the implementation of the 1975 Algiers Agreement will be addressed during the trip.

The 1975 Algiers Agreement was signed to settle the two countries’ border disputes and conflicts, resulted in the eight-year Iran-Iraq war. The quarrel centered on the strategic Arvand Rud waterway, known as Shatt al-Arab in Iraq, which controls access to the Persian Gulf and valuable oilfields. 

Regarding the visa waivers for the two neighbors’ citizens, Masjed said that documents have been signed to facilitate visas issuance for businessmen and traders, as well as industrialists.

He stated that Tehran has asked for the visa waiver but the necessary infrastructures need to be improved first.

Referring to the holding of joint economic exhibitions between Iran and Iraq and the presentation of Iranian goods and industry, he said that the permanent exhibition of the Islamic Republic of Iran is being held in Baghdad, with different Iranian industrial sectors showcasing their products and services in the Iraqi capital.

The diplomat predicted that Iran will have 40 exhibitions in Iraq by next year.

Masjedi said that Iraq is the top destination of Iran’s exports, adding that the two countries have the potential to expand their economic interactions.

Tehran's goal is to reach the trade volume of $20 billion a year with Iraq, the Iranian envoy noted.

ZZ/FNA13971218000489

News Code 143227

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