File photo shows Iranian trucks parked at the Mehran border terminal, western Iran, and waiting for passage into Iraq.
Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaifar says the volume of trade transactions between Tehran and Baghdad stood at over $11 billion during the last Iranian calendar year (ended March 19, 2012).
Danaifar said on Tuesday that electricity exports as well as oil derivatives, including diesel fuel and kerosene, accounted for three billion dollars out of the total figure, while non-oil exports constituted $8 billion.
He added that more than 1.4 million Iranians traveled to Iraq last year - out of whom 1.2 million paid a visit to the shrine cities of Karbala and Najaf, while the rest visited Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Danaifar further said that 740,000 Iraqis traveled to Iran during the aforementioned period, which is a considerable figure, given the Iraqi population of over 30 million people.
The Iranian envoy stated that Iranian and Iraqi airlines offer some 140 flights between Tehran and Baghdad on a weekly basis.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on May 1 that the volume of trade between Tehran and Baghdad will reach a figure between 12 and 15 billion dollars in the current Iranian year (started March 20, 2012).
Mehmanparast described Iran’s trade ties with Iraq as ‘ever increasing,’ saying there exist “abundant capacities” for cooperation between the two countries.
Iran and Iraq have been steadily enhancing ties since the overthrow of slain Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Earlier in April, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that there was no barrier to the development of political, economic and cultural relations between Iran and its western neighbor.