Iran’s Minister of Transport and Urban Development says the time has come to expand trade ties with Syria.

During his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus on Wednesday, Mehrdad Bazrpash called for expanding bilateral cooperation in banking, energy, transit, transportation, and tourism.

Utilizing ports access, Tehran and Damascus can establish shipping lines to boost exports and imports, Bazrpash said, claiming Iran is also ready to train Syrian pilots and develop the Arab country’s airports and refineries.

Although Iran has fought for a decade to save the Syrian government, it has a small share of Syria’s trade, and is losing out to financially stronger players.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, which usually tries to justify its involvement in the Syrian conflict, claims that trade and investment in Syria will pay off and compensate billions of dollars Tehran has spent supporting Bashar al-Assad.

The extent of Iranian military expenditures and financial aid to Syria to keep Bashar al-Assad in power is unknown but is believed to have run into billions of dollar at the expense of the Iranian people. Iranian parliament member, Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, announced in May 2020 that the country had invested $30 billion in Syria and must recoup it.

With reconstruction costs estimated at $250-$400 billion, Syria urgently needs to improve economic ties with regional countries. In the last month, Assad and his aids have met with key figures in countries including the UAE and Turkey as several regional powers see the benefits of bringing Assad, one of Iran’s regional puppets, in from the cold.

Source » iranintl