Tehran, Iran, May 23
The feasibility study of Rasht – Astara railway has been finalized and the road map has been designed, but negotiations over providing finances to the project continue, said Deputy Minister of Road and Urban Development of Iran Abbas Khatibi.
Khatibi discussed the latest updates on the construction of Rasht-Astara railway in an interview with Trend. "The railway will connect to Qazvin-Rasht railway that eventually links to the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC). It is expected that that we construct this railway section," he said.
"The road map is completed, and comments provided by Gilan governor were reflected in the plan, while it was being reviewed by various experts," he added.
In his words, there are two phases of the project and efforts are made to provide financing for the construction to be carried out with assistance from Khatam al-Anbiya Construction Headquarter.
Referring to Iran's negotiations with Azerbaijan on the investments in the project, he said," The issue is underway and being negotiated; if we reach an agreement, it will be officially announced."
Responding to the question concerning possible problems, he explained, "We do not expect any problems in implementing this project, if the necessary resources are provided. We have rich construction experience. Currently, we are constructing around 3,400 kilometer railway in the country. We have the capacity to operate the project, but its financing remains an issue to be addressed."
The construction of Resht-Astara railway is expected to cost $1.1 billion for Iran, while Azerbaijan promised to provide Iran with a loan of 500 million euros to complete the construction of the railway.
The two countries joined efforts, within the International North-South Transport Corridor [a multi-model route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe], to connect their railways through the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara route.