Tabnak – After successfully helping the Iraqi and Syrian government to overcome the threat posed by the radical terrorist group, Iran is trying to build upon its growing ties with the two Arab countries to achieve economic benefits. A project to connect the Iranian railway system to those of Iraq and Syria is Tehran’s latest plan in this regard.
In this vein, Iraq says negotiations are underway with Iran and Syria to develop a transnational railway line linking the three countries. Iraqi Republic Railways Company chief Salib al-Hussaini said a summit will be held between the countries to further discuss the matter, the Arabic-language al-Sumeria news website reported on Friday.
The comments made on the sidelines of the joint Syrian-Iraqi committee held in Damascus came a week after Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri spoke of an initiative to link the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.
"We will connect the Persian Gulf from Iraq to Syria and the Mediterranean via railway and road," said Jahangiri, making reference to the construction of a railway linking the Iranian Shalamcheh border region to the Iraqi city of Basra. The Shalamcheh-Basra railway project is estimated to cost 2.22 billion rials and can link Iran to Syria via Iraq.
The agreement on constructing the railway networks between Iran and Iraq dates back to 2014.
Deputy Head of Iran's railways company (RAI) for Infrastructure and Technical Affairs Maziyar Yazdani the Shalamcheh-Basra railway line will need only 32 kilometers of new track to connect existing railways, costing a total of 2,200 billion riyals (US $52,200). After linking Iran’s railway to Basra, Iranian cities would then be connected to other central cities in Iraq, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad said.
Al-Monitor wrote in a report November 2018 that the idea of a trilateral rail network has been kicked around for years, and in August 2018, Iran and Syria expressed their willingness to build a railway connecting the two countries, along with Iraq, in an attempt to counter the Western sanctions on Iran and boost economic cooperation.
According to Iranian sources, the railway is part of Syria’s reconstruction deal, which grants Iran additional economic and trade privileges and the opportunity to contribute to the transportation sector, thus promoting religious tourism among Iran, Iraq and Syria. Syrian opposition parties, however, have rejected the railway, believing it will entrench Iranian influence and help provide the logistic services necessary for its presence in Iraq and Syria.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation has consented to the project, according to then Iranian Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Amir Amini.
Iraq and Syria have been expanding political and economic ties with Iran as they seek assistance in the post-war reconstruction of their countries which had large swathes of their territories overrun by foreign-backed terrorist outfits in the past years.
Iran has been offering military advisory support to Iraq and Syria at the request of their governments, enabling their forces to speed up gains on various fronts against the terrorist groups.
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.