Work begins on Iraq-Iran rail link

Published September 3, 2023

BAGHDAD: Iraq’s prime minister on Saturday inaugurated construction work on what is slated to become the first railway line connecting the country to neighbouring Iran, a major political and economic partner.

The “Basra-Chalamja connection project” will link the major port city of Basra in southern Iraq to Iran’s vast railway network through the Chalamja border crossing, an transport ministry official told AFP.

It is estimated that the project will take “bet­ween 18 and 24 months”.

The goal is to be able to transport “travellers from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Central Asian countries” to Shiite holy cities, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a speech.

He noted that the project had been under discussion for years before an agreement was reached in 2021.

During Saturday’s ceremony, Sudani laid a symbolic foundation stone alongside Iran’s first vice-president, Moham­mad Mokhber.

Sudani thanked Tehran for planned demining operations at the border to clear the way for the train line and for a railway bridge over the Shatt al-Arab waterway, where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers converge before spilling into the Gulf.

Iraq and Iran fought an eight-year war in the 1980s after Saddam Huss­ein invaded his neighbour in the wake of Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

Mokhber hailed the “strategic” project that he said would be completed “over the next two years”, Iranian state media reported him as saying.

Half of the 32 kilometres of rail track planned will be on the Iran side of the border, its official IRNA news agency said.

War-ravaged and beset by rampant corruption, oil-rich Iraq suffers from dilapidated infrastructure, including outdated highways and railways.

Published in Dawn, September 3rd, 2023

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Time for dialogue
Updated 24 Jun, 2024

Time for dialogue

If the PML-N and PTI remain mired in mutual acrimony, an ever-widening gap will continue to allow non-political forces to assert themselves.
Property taxes
24 Jun, 2024

Property taxes

ACCORDING to reports in the local media, along with the higher taxes imposed on real estate in the recent budget, ...
Fierce heat
24 Jun, 2024

Fierce heat

CLIMATE change is unfolding as predicted by experts: savage heat, melting glaciers, extreme rainfall, drought, ...
China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...