Iran eyes major role in post-war Syria via reconstruction

Al-Monitor | Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif paid an official visit to Damascus Sept. 3 to meet with high-ranking Syrian officials and discuss the latest developments in the country. Iran’s role in the process of post-war reconstruction in Syria was a top priority among the issues discussed. At a meeting with Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis, Zarif touched upon the idea of participation by Iran’s private sector in Syria’s reconstruction, saying that the two countries’ embassies can facilitate this process.

Iran’s desire to define a serious role for itself in the reconstruction of Syria first came under the spotlight on Aug. 18, when an Iranian economic delegation headed by Iran’s Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Amir Amini visited Damascus for talks on a long-term economic partnership agreement between the two countries.

Although no details have surfaced as to what the two sides agreed upon, an official in Iran’s ministry of roads and urban development on Aug. 31 shared the basics of the agreement. According to Teymour Bashir Gonbadi, director of the ministry’s international affairs department, Iranian companies will be involved in reconstructing Syria’s transportation infrastructure as well as building 30,000 homes in the country. Gondadi also Iran plans to establish a railway connection between Iran and Syria via Iraq, saying that now is an opportune time, given China’s desire to secure railroad access to the Mediterranean within the framework of its Belt & Road Initiative (BRI).

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