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Work begins on Iraq-Iran rail link

Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani (R) and Iran's Vice President Mohammad Mokhber lay the foundation stone
— Baghdad (AFP)

Iraq's prime minister on Saturday inaugurated construction work on what is slated to become the first railway line connecting the country to neighbouring Iran, a major political and economic partner.

The "Basra-Chalamja connection project" will link the major port city of Basra in southern Iraq to Iran's vast railway network through the Chalamja border crossing, an transport ministry official told AFP.

It is estimated that the project will take "between 18 and 24 months".

The goal is to be able to transport "travellers from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Central Asian countries" to Shiite holy cities, Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said in a speech.

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