Seeking to carve out a niche in regional transit networks, Iran’s transport minister held meetings with his counterpart in Iraq this week to finalize bilateral agreements on bridge and railway construction linking the two countries. The project would link Iran and Iraq via Basra through a series of bridges, railways and roads, and when complete would link Iran’s railways to Syria and Jordan.
Iraq has allocated $230 million to construct the project, with an expected completion time of 18 months. The project is one of several Iraq’s pursuing to diversify its trade infrastructure and reduce reliance on Arab Gulf ports.
Iran is also looking to capitalize on new trade infrastructure. Deputy foreign minister Mehdi Safari was in India this week, pitching the Chabahar port as a potential regional transit hub for the Indian Ocean. Iran’s only deepwater ocean port, Chabahar is a joint project between Iran and India meant to facilitate trade integration between the two countries and Central Asia.