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Iran, Syria to set up joint bank and free trade zones: Minister

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An Iranian minister says Tehran and Damascus have reached major economic cooperation agreements.

Iran and Syria have agreed to set up a joint bank and special economic zones amid efforts to boost their economic cooperation, according to Iran’s transportation minister Rostam Qassemi who travelled to Damascus earlier this week.

Qassemi said on Thursday that Iran and Syria are set to considerably expand their economic and trade ties now that Arab country is emerging from nearly a decade of war and terrorism.

He said he had discussed the establishment of joint free trade zones with Syrian authorities during his trip to Syria.

The minister said that the Iranian government’s top official on free trade zones will soon travel to Syria to sign final agreements on the issue.

Iran has been a major contributor to Syria’s war on terrorism since violence erupted in the country in 2011. Tehran has vowed it will continue to assist Damascus in its reconstruction efforts after the war.

Qassemi said that he had also reached agreements with Syrian authorities on setting up a joint Iranian-Syrian bank.

“It was agreed that the joint bank will be created in Syria. In line with this, it is expected that Iranian and Syrian banks should set up branches in each other’s countries,” he said.

The minister said that Iranian and Syrian authorities will hold meetings in the near future to finalize initial agreements reached during his trip to Syria.

He said talks in future will focus on increased presence of Iranian manufacturing companies in Syria, including those producing agricultural machinery and equipment to help boost farming activity in the Arab country in the post-war period.


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