BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 9. Iran is ready to attract foreign investment to improve the country's railway network, Iranian Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development for International Affairs Shahriar Afandizadeh said, Trend reports referring to the ministry.
The deputy minister noted that one of the railway lines that need to be improved in the country's railway network is Iran's Rasht-Astara railway line on the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The mentioned railway line, which is 167 km long, stretches from Bandar Abbas in the south of Iran to the city of Rasht and connects Iran to Russia through Azerbaijan and then to the north of Europe.
“Iran is carrying out talks with Russia and Azerbaijan regarding the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line. Thus, a bilateral memorandum of understanding was signed between Iran and Russia, as well as a tripartite memorandum of understanding between Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan,” he added.
According to him, the mentioned memorandums of understanding contain provisions on the format of the construction, the width of the railway line, and the method of using the railway line. Also, an agreement was reached on the transportation of 15 million tons of cargo per year among the three countries via the railway line.
Afandizadeh also pointed out that the width of railway lines in Iran is 1,435 millimeters, while in Azerbaijan and Russia, the figure is 1,520 millimeters. Iran's Rasht-Astara railway line should use the format of Iran's railway lines. However, it was proposed to build another line on the edge of this railway line, so that the width would be 1,520 millimeters.
“Of course, scientific and technical research should be conducted in this regard. At the same time, due to the incompatibility of the railway lines in both the cities of Astara and Rasht, carriages will be replaced," he said.
The deputy minister stressed that along with all these, a number of steps are being taken toward the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line by other financial sources.
The foundation of the ‘International North-South Transport Corridor’ was laid on the basis of an intergovernmental agreement signed between Russia, Iran, and India on September 12, 2000.
In total, 13 countries have ratified the agreement, including Azerbaijan, India, Iran, Russia, Türkiye, etc.
The purpose of creating a corridor is to reduce the delivery time of cargo from India to Russia, as well as to North and West Europe. Delivery time on the current route is more than 6 weeks, it is expected to be reduced to 3 weeks via North-South Transport Corridor.
The 175 km long Qazvin-Rasht railway was officially put into operation on March 6, 2019, to connect Azerbaijani railways with the Iranian railway network within the corridor. In addition, the 167 km long Rasht-Astara railway line must be built in Iran.
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