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.
Speaking last December, Director General of the Railway and Technical Structures Department at the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) Mohammad Mousavi said Iran was planning to build a movable railway bridge over the Arvand river as part of the Shalamcheh-Basra project.
Mousavi said the project would effectively link the Iranian cities of Khorramshahr and Abadan along with the Imam Khomeini Port to the Iraqi city.
The railway project was agreed to last month when Iran and Iraq signed five memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various economic and healthcare sectors.
Observers have described the new agreements as a sign of Baghdad’s serious intention of not being “party to the system of sanctions against Iran” as Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi said earlier in February.