• First Page
  • National
  • International
  • Iranica
  • Sports
  • Perspective
  • Economy
  • Social
  • Photojournalism
  • Art & Culture
Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty Nine - 16 March 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty Nine - 16 March 2023 - Page 8

Iran, Iraq agree to speed up construction of key rail line


Iran and Iraq agreed to speed up construction of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway and the restart of the Tehran-Karbala combined train, CEO of Iran’s railway company Miad Salehi said.
“During the joint commission of the two countries which was held yesterday and today in Baghdad, good understandings were made with the officials of the new Iraqi government in the field of rail link, especially the acceleration of the construction of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway as well as the announcement of the both sides’ readiness for a rail connection from the Khosravi border,” Salehi noted, reported Press TV.
The railway linking the southern Iraqi oil city of Basra and the Iranian border town of Shalamcheh will help facilitate exports to Iraq and expand pilgrimage between the two countries.
The Shalamcheh-Basra railway has been in the works for more than 20 years. The two sides signed a new agreement in December 2021 to complete the rail link in two years.
The connection is very important for Iran and Iraq both in terms of transit and passenger movement, especially in the Arbaeen when millions of pilgrims travel to Iraq, and the relationship between the two countries.
Once completed, it will create an east-west rail transit corridor to the Mediterranean Sea, linking the Iranian port of Khorramshahr to Latakia in Syria through Iraq’s Basra by extension.
In 2015, Iran launched an extension of the railway from Khorramshahr to Shalamcheh at the border. What remains is a mere 32 km track that will connect Shalamcheh to the Iraqi port.
However, it requires building a 900-meter bridge over the southern end of the Arvand river that constitutes the Iran–Iraq border down to its mouth, where it discharges into the Persian Gulf.
Under the agreement, the Iranian and Iraqi companies will jointly study and implement the Shalamcheh-Basra railway.
The project is key to streamlining trade between Iran, Iraq and Syria. It has the potential to revolutionize economic relations among the three countries in their emerging alliance.
Iraq became Iran’s most important trading partner after the overthrow of former dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003, and since then it has increased the volume of annual trade exchange which the two countries seek to raise to $20 billion.
Meanwhile, Iran and Syria are strategic partners and planning an all-out expansion of economic relations in the aftermath of their relentless battle against foreign-backed Takfiri terrorism in the Arab country.
Iran is currently linked with many countries, such as Russia, Turkey and recently with Pakistan. The construction of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway will connect Iraq not only to Iran, but also to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Far East.
In addition, it can potentially turn Iraq into the transit route of goods between the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf and Central Asia and Russia.


Date archive