Iran and Iraq have agreed to establish a railway to connect the border cities of Shalamcheh in Iran and Basra in Iraq in 20 months, Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi stated.
Some 500 trucks and more than 2,000 pilgrims currently go from the Iranian border city of Shalamcheh to Iraq per day, Iran's Fars news agency quoted Akhoundi as saying on April 14.
The railway can pave the way for linking the two countries' railway network in a bid to facilitate transfer of Iranian pilgrims to Iraq's Shiite holy cities, he added.
A tender will be held next week for carrying out the project, he noted.
Iran exports large volumes of construction materials and food products to Iraq, he said, adding that the railway will hopefully facilitate the bilateral trade.
Akhoundi also said that Iran is planning to construct a bridge over the Arvand border river to facilitate visits by Iranian pilgrims to the neighboring country's holy Shiite sites.
Iran and Iraq are working to finalize a comprehensive trade document, which could quintuple their bilateral trade to $30 billion per year.
In October 2014, Iranian Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh said increasing industrial, mining, and banking cooperation and launching joint ventures can give a great boost to the efforts to increase Iran-Iraq bilateral trade.
Iraq was the second biggest importer of Iranian non-oil goods in Iranian calendar year 1392 (March 2013-March 2014).
Iran exported $5.9 billion of non-oil goods to Iraq and imported $68.4 million of non-oil goods from the Arab country.