Iranian Ambassador to Iraq Iraj Masjedi said on Tuesday that he hopes Kurdistan Region’s companies will begin exporting goods to his country, adding that they are ready to support the Region to prosper in industry, agriculture and advanced technology.

Attending the second trade and industrial fair in Erbil, organised for Iranian companies, Masjedi told Kurdish companies that Tehran “wants to further strengthen its economic ties with the Kurdistan Region in the field of business, exportation, investment and transportation. This will be in the interest of both countries. The Islamic Republic of Iran wants the Kurdistan Region to prosper in industry, agriculture and advanced technology. We are ready to help.”

“We would like the Kurdistan Region to import [goods] to Iran as well. We do not want our relations to be unilateral,” he added.

The expo opened on Tuesday and will last for five days. About 135 Iranian companies from 10 sectors are participating.

The Kurdistan Region and Iran have enjoyed good relations in the past, and share several border crossings. Tehran-Erbil trade volume is estimated to be around $13 billion.

Masjedi later told Rudaw that he has asked his country’s departments of exportation, transit and investment “to have joint work [with Kurdish companies] and export their products to the Kurdistan Region. I hope the Region’s businessmen will cooperate. This will be a good step towards progress.”

Kamal Muslim, Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Trade and Industry Minister, who accompanied Masjedi to the fair, told Rudaw that such fairs are good means to bolster bilateral ties.

Arash Hesari, who represents an Iranian company at the fair, told Rudaw that his company produces fabric for medical purposes and disposable goods. “We used to import products from China and India but now we produce them in Iran.”

Kamaran Hatem Khani, who represents another Iranian company, said his company makes robots used in petrochemical and food industries. “We decided to bring these robots to Kurdistan because they purchase them from Turkey and Europe.”

A number of local companies attended the fair as well. Mohammed Surchi is the owner of one of these companies. He complained that there are not enough similar fairs in the Kurdistan Region.

Tehran was a key ally of the Region in the war against the Islamic State (ISIS). Iran was the first country to offer assistance in 2014 to the Peshmerga who faced a battle against the terror group with outdated equipment.

Masjedi met with Kurdistan Region President Nechirvan Barzani and other Kurdish leaders on Tuesday.

Barzani and Masjedi discussed “the relations between Iraq, the Kurdistan Region and the Islamic Republic of Iran as well as the latest developments in joint cooperation,” a statement from the presidency read following the meeting.

Iran is a major trading partner. Since the overthrow of the regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraq and the Kurdistan Region have become two important destinations for Iranian goods. Iraq was the second-biggest customer for Iran’s increased exports from February to October of this year.

Source » rudaw