Apr 07, 2019 18:23 Asia/Tehran [Updated: Feb 04, 2020 14:04 Asia/Tehran]

Iran is interested in developing relations with neighbouring Iraq despite the US animosity, according to Iran's First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri on Saturday.

Iran Press/Iran news: “There have been good agreements between Iran and Iraq during past visits by the two countries' officials and the clear message is that Tehran and Baghdad are keen on developing their relations in all sectors despite the US animosity,” Jahangiri said in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Sunday. 

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Abdul-Mahdi is on an official two-day visit to Iran, one month after a first and historic visit by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to Iraq. He is leading a large political, military and business delegation in a bid to further consolidate bilateral relations between Tehran and Baghdad, Iran Press reported.

Rouhani and Abdul-Mahdi oversaw the signing of several agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) that lead to expansion of their mutual relations. 

“Should all these accords be implemented, trade and economic ties between Tehran and Baghdad will be strengthened dramatically,” Iran's first vice-president said. 

President Donald Trump's administration withdrew the US from an international treaty on Iran's nuclear program on 8 May 2018, and reimposed two-rounds of economic sanctions against Tehran. 

The Iranian official said that Tehran will stand by Baghdad in the reconstruction period just as we helped Iraq in combating Daesh terrorists.

The two countries eye a $20 billion annual trade volume that currently stands at 12 billion dollars. 

Jahangiri recalled the presence of Iran's construction firms in Iraq before the Daesh terrorist group took over large swathes of land and plunged Iraq into an all-out war. 

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Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi said that his government is ready to help Iran assist survivors of the destructive flash floods that have killed dozens of people, injured many others and left tens of thousands homeless. “The floods show we haven’t been ready to cope with the scale of such disasters,” the Iraqi official said. 

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says floods in Iraq have caused some damage in many parts of the country, but no fatalities have been reported. 

Abdul-Mahdi expressed that a recent agreement on mutual dredging of the border River Arvand Roud, also known as Shatt al-Arab, could be beneficial for both countries. The river has not been dredged for 40 years, since former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein tore in public the 1975 Algiers Agreement. 

He noted that establishing frees visas for Iranians and Iraqis can further promote tourism and expand economic relations between the two countries. Baghdad and Tehran now officially issue visas for each other's nationals free of charge as of last week. 

The Iraqi premier stressed that his government and the Central Bank of Iraq will do whatever they can to pay their debts to Iran. Baghdad owes Tehran one billion dollars more for purchasing Iranian electricity and gas to feed its energy-starving power plants. 103/211

Read  more:

Iran, Iraq agree to develop border oil fields

Zarif: Iran determined to boost cooperation with neighbouring Iraq

Iran, Iraq serious about further deepening of trade ties: Rouhani

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