Official talks Iran's railway connection to Europe, regional links

Tehran, Iran, Feb.21

Trend:

Iran is in the process of resolving the delay in the implementation of the Shalamcheh-Basra railway project, while also seeking to link to other international connections.

The director general of economic evaluation office at the Ministry of Road and Urban Development of Iran Mohsen Sadeghi discussed the improvement of railway connection between Iran and neighboring countries in an interview with Trend.

"Iran has signed many contracts with international organizations that include neighbors and other countries," he said.

"For example Iran is part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) and Asian Highway (AH) where all the countries from Asia and Pacific have identified their railways and their role in transit," said Sadeghi.

He went on to say that while the railway's primary function is for domestic use, the international cargo transit is also very important, and would bring revenues to Iran.

"In this regard, Iran has signed agreements with ESCAP project and these projects are being launched, and the annual report will be send to the UNESCAP," he said.

Sadeghi said that Iran held discussions with the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) regarding new roads and railways, for Iran's connection to Europe.

Referring to Iran's connection to Europe via a railway, he said that the Islamic Republic is connected to Europe via the Kapikoy/Razi border but Turkey does not have a railway for crossing the Van Lake. Thus, Azerbaijan was chosen, and the Rasht-Anzali-Astara railway was launched.

"The railway will link to Astara in Azerbaijan and if the project would operate, it will connect to the International North–South Transport Corridor where Iran can transport cargo from southern port of Shahid Rajaee to Astara and Azerbaijan and then to Europe," he added.

"The other issue is the Kermanshah–Khosravi railway that would be influential in passenger transportation to Iraq and for cargo transfer Iran is focusing on Shalamche–Basra railway. There are no problems on Iran's side, but there are on Iraqi side, and they're being solved.

Sadeghi also spoke about the Khaf (Iran)-Herat (Afghanistan) project, he said Iran has completed its side, and work should continue on Afghanistan's side.

"Iran is responsible regarding its railway connections, and those unfinished projects are the priority. The potential of neighboring countries should also be used. Building infrastructure is not enough, also negotiations with chambers of commerce would help the transit," said the official.

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