0850 GMT July 23, 2019
Iraq’s Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi said strengthening of ties between Iran and Iraq is of benefit to the two neighbors as well as the whole region.
The Iraqi prime minister made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyyed Abbas Araqchi in Baghdad on Monday.
He expressed hope that meetings between the officials of the two countries would be a turning point in the expansion of bilateral relations and resolving mutual issues between Tehran and Baghdad.
Joint industrial zone
According to a statement released by the Iraqi prime minister’s office, Abdul-Mahdi told the Iranian official that Iraq was ready to create a joint industrial zone with Iran.
They also discussed ways to broaden the economic and trade ties and also issues surrounding water sources, common border, and visa regulations, the statement noted, saying they voiced willingness to reach a clear agreement which would fairly serve the interests of both nations.
Both officials also made arrangements for an upcoming visit by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Iraq.
Araqchi expressed hope that a planned visit by President Rouhani to Baghdad would lead to the further expansion of trade and economic relations between the two countries.
Rouhani’s visit would come against the backdrop of Iran’s efforts to boost its foreign trade following the US reimposion of illegal sanctions against Iran.
Iraq’s foreign minister said recently that his country is “not obliged” to abide by sanctions imposed by the US against Iran and would be pursuing options to continue bilateral trade.
Earlier this month, governors of the central banks of Iran and Iraq signed an agreement to develop a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating banking ties between the two countries.
According to the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati, Iran will open euro and dinar-based accounts to process transactions for trade in oil and gas.
The Iranian diplomat arrived in Baghdad on Monday to take part in a new session of the Iran-Iraq joint political commission.
Araqchi's trip to Iraq comes after last month’s visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the neighboring country.
Also on Monday, high-ranking military officials of Iran and Iraq held talks in Baghdad to discuss ways to enhance cooperation.
Strengthening regional security, reviewing the latest status of bilateral cooperation, and devising a long-term plan for military cooperation were among issues discussed by the two sides.
Following the fall of several Iraqi cities into the hands of Daesh terrorist group in 2014, Iran’s military rushed to help the Arab country to pull the terrorists out of the country.
Since then, Tehran and Baghdad decided to expand their defense cooperation with the aim of countering terrorist groups.