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Iran, Iraq aim to increase bilateral trade to US $20 bln

Tehran, July 22 (IANS) Iran and Iraq are keen on increasing bilateral trade value to 20 billion U.S. dollars in near future, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a joint press conference with the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

Rouhani said at a live broadcast from the state TV on Tuesday that the two sides are determined to implement their earlier agreements, particularly connecting the Iranian Shalamcheh to the Iraqi Basra city via railway.

Iran is also prepared to cooperate with Iraq for the peace and stability of the Arab country and the region, he noted.

The Iranian president said that Iran would stand by the Iraqi people in their fight against the COVID-19 and will provide them with medical and health needs, Xinhua news agency reported.

For his part, Al-Kadhimi said that Iran and Iraq need cooperation and coordination in the face of challenges, like the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and the fall in the crude oil prices.

He said that his government will not allow the Iraqi soil to be used as a platform for threats to Iran.

The Iraqi prime minister expressed his gratitude to the Iranian side for Tehran's supports and assistance to the Iraqi people in their fight against the Islamic State extremist group.

Al-Kadhimi pointed out that Iraq has turned into a big market for Iranian products and his country will also help Iran overcome its economic challenges.

Al-Kadhimi arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran on Tuesday for talks on bilateral issues and regional cooperation.

During his two-day visit, the Iraqi prime minister is also scheduled to meet other Iranian top officials, according to IRNA news agency.

–IANS

rt/

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