The construction of the “Basra-Chalamja connection project” is a significant infrastructure development in Iraq. (rail link)
Project Overview: The Basra-Chalamja connection project is a railway line that will connect the major port city of Basra in southern Iraq to Iran’s extensive railway network through the Chalamja border crossing.
Inauguration: The project’s construction work was inaugurated by Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, in a ceremony.
Timeline: The project is estimated to take between 18 and 24 months to complete.
Purpose: The primary purpose of this railway line is to facilitate the transportation of travelers from Iran and Central Asian countries to Shiite holy cities in Iraq.
Symbolic Foundation Stone: During the inauguration ceremony, Prime Minister Sudani and Iran’s First Vice-President, Mohammad Mokhber, laid a symbolic foundation stone for the project, indicating its official commencement.
Acknowledgment and Cooperation: Iraq expressed gratitude to Iran for planned demining operations at the border to ensure the safe construction of the railway line. Additionally, there will be a railway bridge built over the Shatt al-Arab waterway, which is where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers converge before flowing into the Gulf.
Historical Context: Iraq and Iran have a history of conflict, including an eight-year war in the 1980s. However, this project represents a significant step toward regional cooperation and infrastructure development between the two countries.
Rail Track Allocation: About half of the 32 kilometers (20 miles) of rail track planned for the project will be on the Iranian side of the border.
Iraqi Infrastructure Challenges: Iraq has faced challenges related to its infrastructure, including outdated highways and railways, due to the effects of war and corruption. Projects like this one aim to address some of these issues and improve connectivity within the country and with neighboring nations.
Other Infrastructure Projects: The Iraqi government has been actively working on regional partnerships and infrastructure development projects. In May, they unveiled the “Route of Development” project, which involves the construction of a road and railway stretching from Iraq’s northern border with Turkey to the southern Gulf region, with an estimated cost of $17 billion.
This railway project holds significance not only for improving transportation within Iraq but also for strengthening economic and political ties with Iran and neighboring Central Asian countries. (rail link)