The Iran Project

Iran, Iraq agree on linking national railways

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi in a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Bayan Baqir Jabr al-Zubaydi in Tehran on Tuesday agreed to pave the way for linking the two countries’ railway network in a bid to facilitate transfer of Iranian pilgrims to Iraq’s Shiite holy cities.

During the meeting in the Iranian capital today, Akhoundi and Zubaydi underlined the need for broadening transportation cooperation between the two countries.

The Iranian roads and urban development minister said that Iraq has to construct only 32 kilometers of railway in order to link Iran’s railway to Basra railway system which could then pave the way for connecting the Iranian cities to Iraqi cities of Baghdad, Karbala and Kazmain.

“Iran’s railway system is linked to railways of Central Asia, China and Russia and if the 32-kilometer Shalamcheh-Basra railway will be constructed, Iraq can transfer goods and passengers to Russia and China and vice versa,” Akhoundi added.

The Iraqi transportation minister, for his part, instructed Head of Iraqi Railway Company Salam Jabr Saloum who was also present at the meeting to prepare a plan for the construction of the railway from Shalamcheh border town in Iran to Basra in Iraq.

On Sunday, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced that Iraq has asked for Iran’s help in the construction of Najaf-Karbala railway.

“We are studying this proposal to pave the way for its implementation,” the Iranian interior minister said, addressing a meeting in Tehran.

He noted that the Iraqi government has officially asked the Iranian government to help that country to complete its railway project linking the two Iraqi holy cities of Najaf and Karbala.

Rahmani Fazli also said that Iran is planning to construct a bridge over Arvand River in Southwestern Iran to facilitate visits by Iranian pilgrims to the neighboring country’s holy Shiite sites.

Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.

By Fars News Agency


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