Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said Iran has always been a friend to the people of Kurdistan, stressing that “Without Iran's help, the voice of the suppressed Kurds wouldn’t reach anywhere”. Barzani made the remarks in a trade conference attended by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, which was held in Kurdistan’s city of Erbil on Tuesday, IRNA reported.
He praised the Zarif’s visit as an indication of the “deep-rooted and good relations” between Iran and the Iraqi Kurdistan.
Barzani underlined that Iranian companies stayed in the region in the past four years at the time when it was experiencing hard times, but the situation is improving now.
Both sides emphasized the importance of expanding bilateral relations in various sectors, particularly in the economic field.
Addressing the conference, Zarif hailed the brotherly and historical relations between the two sides and called for closer Tehran-Erbil cooperation.
The Iranian foreign minister further said that the unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States on Iran would fail to affect and hamper Iran’s relations with Iraq’s Kurdistan region.
“Sanctions will fail to create an obstacle in the way of expanding economic ties between Iran and Iraq,” he said, adding that Iran was “a highly reliable partner” for all of its friends, “particularly Iraq’s Kurdistan region.”
Zarif also said that the security of the Islamic Republic is intertwined with and “inseparable from” that of Kurdistan, expressing support for the central government in Baghdad as well as the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Dara Jalil Khayat, the chairman of the Kurdistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, who also attended the economic forum, put the volume of trade exchanges between Tehran and Erbil at $6 billion, expressing hope for the expansion of economic ties between the two sides.
He further said that a joint committee would be established to deal with the existing economic problems.
Heading a high-ranking political and economic delegation, Zarif arrived in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, on Sunday.
There, the Iranian foreign minister met with Iraqi officials and discussed expansion of ties in Baghdad.