Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi agreed to pave the way for linking the two countries' railroad networks to facilitate the transfer of Iranian pilgrims to Iraq's Shia holy cities.
In a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Bayan Baqir Jabr al-Zubaydi in Tehran on Tuesday, Akhoundi underlined the need for broadening bilateral transportation cooperation.
The Iranian minister said Iraq has to build only 32 kilometers of railroads to link Iran's railroad to Basra, which could then help connecting Iranian cities to the Iraqi cities of Baghdad, Karbala and Kazemayn.
Akhoundi remarked, "Iran's railroad system is linked to the railroads of Central Asia, China and Russia, and if the 32-kilometer Shalamcheh-Basra railroad is constructed, Iraq can transfer goods and passengers to Russia and China and vice versa."
The Iraqi transportation minister instructed Salam Jabr Saloum, the head of Iraqi Railroad Company, who was also present at the meeting to prepare a plan for the construction of the railroad from Shalamcheh border town in Iran to Basra in Iraq.
Iran and Iraq have enjoyed growing ties ever since the overthrow of the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, during the 2003 US invasion of the Muslim country.