Tehran, Feb 28, IRNA -- Iraqi Ambassador to Tehran Muhammaed Majid
al-Sheikh invited Iran Monday to participate in his shattered
country's reconstruction, putting behind years of hostile
relationship under Saddam Hussein's rule.
But with the United States' omnipresence in the occupied country,
it remains unclear how much the two neighbors can practically go ahead
with such an interaction.
In Washington's eyes, Iran is a destabilizing factor which must
be kept at an arm's length from the next government in Iraq, even as
the emergence of a dominant Shiite administration, favored by Iran, is
While al-Sheikh adverted to the unclear modes of trade interaction
between the two countries as being the major challenges, he shied away
from going far.
Instead, he called for 'institutionalizing trade ties' between the
two countries and complained that some accords were being concluded
without the due supervision of their officials.
Al-Sheikh also touched on cultural and religious affinities
between the two countries, hoping trade and economic ties will be
further promoted with the establishment of the new Iraqi government.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran has helpful experience which it can
use in accelerating Iraq's reconstruction," he told a joint meeting
with members of Iran's Chamber of Commerce.
Trade transactions between the two countries last year are
estimated at one billion dollars.
Head of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Alinaqi Khamoushi, voiced
the country's readiness to help Iraq in such areas as construction of
dams and energy plants.
He said so far Britain, Russia, Poland, Japan and Germany have
interest in going into partnership with Iran in carrying out
large-scale reconstruction projects in Iraq.
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