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Iran, Iraq sign deal to establish rail connection

The MoU was signed at the Iranian Consulate in Basra Province by the general director of the Iraqi Republic Railways Company and the executive director of the Iranian Railways Company, Shafaq News reported.

During their visit, officials from both countries inspected the border region for the project, following the maps approved by both sides. This included the Shalamcheh border region in southwestern Iran, the newly-established passenger station there, and the route under study from this border to the Arvand River on the Iranian side.

They also examined the banks of the aforementioned river and the central part of it, known as “Sindbad Island” in Iraq, specifically the location for the construction of the bridge and a new passenger station in Basra.

After six hours of negotiations, both parties agreed on the precise route for the railroad from Shalamcheh to the Arvand River and established a specific timeline for the executive operations of the rail connection between Shalamcheh and Basra.

This included scheduling operations for mine clearance and the construction of rail infrastructure from Shalamcheh to Arvand (Shatt al-Arab on the Iraqi side) and the handover of land for studies on the bridge’s supporting structures, which will connect the riverbanks.

Additionally, the Iraqi Republic Railways Company and its Iranian counterpart signed a map outlining the railroad’s route, which was accompanied by the MoU detailing the executive procedures for the rail connection between the two countries.

The Shatt al-Arab known as Arvand in Iran is a river extending over 200 kilometers that is formed at the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in the town of al-Qurnah in the Basra Governorate of southern Iraq. The southern end of the river constitutes the Iran–Iraq border down to its mouth, where it discharges into the Persian Gulf. The Shatt al-Arab varies in width from about 232 meters at Basra to 800 meters at its mouth.

Iran and Iraq agreed earlier to start the construction of the long-planned 32-km railroad from Shalamcheh in Iran to Basra in Iraq after the end of Ramadan on April 20, according to Iran’s deputy foreign minister for economic diplomacy, Mehdi Safari.

“Iraq has allocated a budget of nearly $230 million for the Shalamcheh-Basra railroad and this is happening for the first time,” Safari was quoted as saying by the International Railway Journal.

MNA/PR

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