By John Lee.
Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and a delegation of senior officials from the Kurdistan Region concluded a two-day visit to the Islamic Republic of Iran yesterday to promote greater cooperation in economic and trade relations.
With the volume of trade between the Kurdistan Region and Iran estimated to be around $8 billion this year, both sides agreed on the desire to maintain this link and highlighted the importance of adhering to mutual trade regulations in order to ensure the quality of products and provide the greatest benefit for both sides.
In his meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the two leaders touched on ways to improve economic ties as a means of benefiting Iraq as a whole. President Ahmadinejad said, “Exploring existing potentials, especially in trade and commerce, can spark a major leap in economic ties between Iran and Iraq.”
Speaking about the possibility of establishing border terminals, Prime Minister Barzani said: “The relations between Kurdistan and Iran are not limited only to a series of economic projects, rather Iran and Kurdistan have had much important historical and cultural ties since long ago.”
The high-ranking delegation also met with other senior Iranian officials, including first Vice President, Mr Mohammad Reza Rahimi; Vice President for International Affairs, Mr Ali Saeedlou; Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Mr Ali Larijani; and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Ali Akbar Salehi.
Following Prime Minister Barzani’s visit, the Iranian Vice President for International Affairs led a large delegation to Erbil to participate in a joint economic forum.
The KRG delegation to Iran included Minister of Natural Resources, Dr Ashti Hawrami; Minister of Housing and Reconstruction, Mr Kamaran Ahmed Abdullah; Chairman of the Kurdistan Board of Investment, Minister Herish Muharam; Head of Department of Foreign Relations, Minister Falah Mustafa, and the KRG Spokesman, Mr Safeen Dizayee.