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Iran, Syria for regional economic bloc

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Iran and Syria have discussed at length the formation of a regional economic bloc with Turkey and Iraq as their key partners.

Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) has reported that Iran's visiting First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Syrian President Bashar Assad during talks have agreed to establish the bloc. The two sides felt the move would yield economic benefits and impart political stability and security to the region. Iran's semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Mr. Rahimi as saying countries such as Turkey and Iraq could enhance regional cooperation by partnering Iran and Syria.

The two also discussed the construction of a pipeline for exporting Iranian gas to Syria via Turkey, as part of an effort to promote regional ties. They also considered possible tie-ups in transportation, water supply and petrochemicals. During the visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Damascus in February, it had been decided to waive visa requirements for visiting nationals.

Analysts say the decision to add a strong economic dimension to their relationship builds on the close political ties that exist between Tehran and Damascus. Both countries supported the Palestinian Hamas and the Lebanese Hizbollah against Israel. The Gaza winter war of 2008-09 also enabled Turkey to share its common political concerns with Iran and Syria.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 10:28:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Iran-Syria-for-regional-economic-bloc/article16297648.ece

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