Int’l Conference on Iraq’s Economic Reconstruction Opens in Tehran

The first international conference on Reconstruction of Iraq’s Economy kicked off work here in Tehran on Sunday. The conference, attended by senior Iranian and Iraqi officials, including head of Experts Assembly and Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, ministers, governor generals, heads and representatives of provincial chambers of commerce and industrial and trade unions of the two countries, has been arranged by the Iranian foreign ministry’s special staff for Iraq, Trade Promotion Organization, Iran-Iraq joint chamber of commerce and Iraqi embassy in Tehran.

The conference is due to study a long range of opportunities for economic cooperation between the two nations, private sectors in particular.

The meeting was started by Rafsanjani’s inaugural speech, where he described security as a top priority for the reconstruction of Iraq.

Rafsanjani blasted occupiers of Iraq and the former Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hossein for the present insecurities and economic hardship of the Iraqi people, and stressed that the Iraqi nation deserves much better conditions.

He said that following the Iraqi imposed war, Iranians started large-scale reconstruction of their country and are now in good conditions from the viewpoints of economy and security.

Rafsanjani further pointed to the common fate and abundant commonalities of the Iranian and Iraqi nations, and voiced Tehran’s readiness to transfer its good experiences in the field of reconstruction to the Iraqi nation for free.

“And now we are ready to establish the highest levels of relations with our neighbors,” he said, adding, “and we have good experience in reconstruction which we can share with the Iraqi nation for free.”

He also called for the expansion of the two countries’ economic relations in such areas as trade, tourism and exchange of pilgrims, adding that reconstruction and development of the two states’ border provinces would provide “a world of opportunities” for both sides.

“We have common religion, beliefs and fate and I think that your newly started cooperation in economic affairs can set a good example for the whole region,” Rafsanjani told the Iranian and Iraqi businessmen and economic directors attending the meeting.

“If you gain success in this cooperation, we will repeat this experience with other regional countries and this would, in turn, increase and strengthen security in the region,” he added, assuring the participants that the Iranian and Iraqi governments would spare no effort in supporting them.

Rafsanjani also pointed out that if economic cooperation between the Iranian and Iraqi private sectors shows success, other regional countries would be attracted to such cooperation which, he said, would eventually lead to the establishment of an Islamic common market.

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