Tehran's ambassador to Baghdad, Iraj Masjedi, said on Tuesday that the value of trade exchange between Iraq and Iran had reached $8.5 billion annually, pointing out the existence of 79 Iranian companies operating in different sectors within the Iraqi market.
The statement was made during a meeting in Baghdad between the Iranian ambassador, Fouad Hussein, Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, and Iraqi Finance Minister.
The office of Deputy Prime Minister issued a statement on behalf of Hussein who received "the ambassador of the Islamic Republic to Baghdad and the accompanying delegation," adding that "during the meeting both parties reviewed the historical relations between the two countries and ways to strengthen and develop such ties for the welfare of the Iraqi and Iranian peoples".
Hussein emphasised in the statement that "Iraq is looking forward to establishing a strong and tight relationship with neighbouring countries based on common interests," stressing that "these relations must be protected to create a stable environment in the region."
Hussein called for "the need to diversify the sources of income and avoid total dependency on oil revenues, in addition to diminishing unemployment and reconstructing what was destroyed by previous extremist ideologies," underlining "the need to pay extra attention to the sectors of industry, agriculture, tourism, and investment."
For his part, Masjedi said that "the trade exchange value between the two republics has reached $8.5 billion annually," explaining that "79 Iranian companies are currently located in Iraq and operating in different fields, namely energy, construction, tourism, and infrastructure".
The Iranian ambassador added that "the capital invested by Iranian companies in Iraq-based projects amounts to ten billion dollars," noting that "the number of tourists from both countries has significantly increased compared to previous years."