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Grounds for economic cooperation with countries of the Resistance Axis

Grounds for economic cooperation with countries of the Resistance Axis

An expert on the Middle East affairs, commenting on the grounds for economic cooperation between Iran and the Axis of Resistance countries, especially Iraq, said: Unlike some media scene setting, there is a great potential for economic cooperation between Tehran and Baghdad, much of which have been exploited.

NOURNEWS - Jafar Qanadbashi, in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, said: Some opposition media outlets have suggested that the three countries of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, lack the necessary capabilities for economic cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran and that have given their little trade potential to other countries, such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, but statistics and estimates are quite different.

Explaining that the three countries have the necessary economic potential, which has even drawn other countries to the region, he said: A clear sign of such economic potentials is the desire of industrialized and semi-industrialized countries for an economic presence in Iraq; in describing some of the political and military measures of other countries in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, we also come to the conclusion that those countries pursue nothing but long- and medium-term economic targets.

Therefore, he added, the desire of industrialized and semi-industrialized countries for being present in Iraq indicates the country’s appropriate capacity for foreign investment.

Noting that Iraq ranks second or third in the Middle East in terms of oil reserves, Qanadbashi also said that Syria, with its oil wells in the north, has a great potential to play a role as the oil exporter country.

Regarding Iran’s economic cooperation with the three countries, especially Iraq, the Middle East affairs expert stressed: If we examine the available statistics, the issue that Iraq currently has the most economic relations with Iran compared to the 15 neighboring countries (including the countries in south of the Persian Gulf) and is at the top of all countries in terms of accepting export goods, is a fact that can well illustrate the growing trend of such cooperation.

In continuation, Qanadbashi underlined the need for making investment and having a preliminary presence in Iraq for expanding economic cooperation in the future, and said: For example, the Japanese have agreed to build several settlements around Basra to continue their presence in Iraq as a prelude to their entry into Iraq. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has built stadiums in some Iraqi cities with an aim of being present in Iraq. Therefore, the export of gas and electricity from Iran to Iraq can guarantee the necessary opportunities for Iran’s presence in Iraq and be a trump card for our country.

Further elaborating, he added: Iraq, after 20 years and transition from the era of war, is now in a period of reconstruction, and in all areas of infrastructure, greatly needs to provide the facilities and preliminaries for modernization and reconstruction.

According to the expert, in fact, Iraq needs products that Iran has become self-sufficient in the field of production and can export them to Iraq.

Qanadbashi also addressed the economic relations between Iran and Syria and said: As for Syria, the situation is the same, which means that the country has also gone through a civil war; its infrastructure has been destroyed and is now entering into a period of reconstruction. Therefore, both Iraq and Syria need goods that their production in Iran has reached an acceptable and exportable stage.

The Middle East expert believes that another capacity that is important in relation to those countries is the low rates of transportation and insurance related to commercial activities.

Further explaining, Qanadbashi said: Under such circumstances, it is possible to set a precise plan and strategy for future economic cooperation, which may be the most important step in removing obstacles to such cooperation.

He referred to economic and administrative structures in Iran that can be cited as one of such obstacles, adding: For example, we can mention lack of space for the private sector and negligence of this sector in economic cooperation with several countries. Of course, part of such negligence is related to lack of knowledge of the private sector about such capabilities and unfamiliarity with the needs of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Qanadbashi also said that another advantage of Iran’s trade with those countries is the low price of goods due to low rates of rent, insurance and devaluation of the Iranian national currency, which has driven exports.

The expert also commented on the impact of the US sanctions on Iran’s trade relations with its neighbors and said: Although sanctions on Iran’s neighbors, including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq, have not had a significant impact, they have nevertheless created obstacles to expanding cooperation and has created problems for transfer of prices for goods.

Referring to the establishment of an economic deputy position at the Foreign Ministry and activation of Iranian embassies in the mentioned three countries, he said: Such measures are important steps to enter into a new chapter of extensive cooperation with Damascus, Baghdad and Beirut. Also, in recent visits of the officials of the three countries, the necessity of exploiting economic capacities has been constantly emphasized, and in some meetings, there has been talk about compiling and completing a comprehensive document of cooperation among those countries and Iran, and strategies based on the past experiences and future capabilities have been inserted in relevant documents.

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