Iran and Syria Discuss Transportation Cooperation

“It [is] important as well for Iran to overcome these sanctions.”

Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Syria has been Iran’s most trustworthy if not only Arab ally.  During the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq War, Syria was the only Arab country to side with Iran.  Iran returned the favor during the Syrian civil war, dispatching the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in what the Iranian press described as train-and-assist missions, but which included combat resulting in IRGC casualties.  The IRGC also activated Lebanese Hezbollah units to fight on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Now that the Assad regime has largely regained control over Syria, Iran and Syria increasingly discuss how they might cooperate both in rebuilding Syria and post-conflict trade (See: “Iran and Syria Seek to Jumpstart Economic Ties,” OE Watch, 1 2022).  The excerpted selection from Iran’s official news outlet, Islamic Republic News Agency, reports from Syria on a meeting between the heads of Iranian companies soliciting business in Syria and the Syrian Transport Minister Zuhair Khazim.  The air link between Syria and Iran is not new.  IRGC owned airlines have long shuttled men and material between airports in Tehran or the nearby city of Karaj and both Damascus and Beirut.  However, the frankness with which Khazim and the Iranian businessmen discussed reviving the land route suggests confidence that Iraq will no longer pose an impediment to overland trade between Iran and Syria.  Also relevant is the open acknowledgment that both countries seek to bypass sanctions imposed by the United States and other Western countries.


“Iran va Suriya dar baraye Tawse’ah-e Hamkariha dar hawzeh-e hamal va Naqel Goftegu Kardand (Iran and Syria Discussed Transportation Cooperation),” Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran’s official news outlet), 23 December 2021.

…In a meeting with representatives of a number of Iranian companies, [Syrian] Minister of Transport Zuhair Khazim referred to the unilateral Western sanctions affecting the Syrian people, and called for the development of cooperation in the field of transportation between Syria and Iran. He considered it important as well for Iran to overcome these sanctions.

The meeting, held in Damascus, called on the Syrian Minister of Transport to define the framework for cooperation for both air and land sectors between Iran and Syria in accordance with the legal provisions and to have the relevant committees in each sector review them. According to Syrian media reports, the Iranian delegation also considered the possibility of establishing joint airlines and supporting road maintenance projects and investing in the construction of new roads and bridges in Syria…. At the end of March 2011, Syria became embroiled in a crisis backed by some of its neighboring Western-oriented Arab countries and the Zionist regime. The presence of more than 360,000 terrorists from 120 countries in various cities in Syria caused the widespread destruction of many important cities during the nearly nine years of war in this country.