BAKU, Azerbaijan, January 6. Iran is considering various plans to finance the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway in Gilan Province in the north of the country, Iranian Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development, and CEO of Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company (CDTIC), Kheirollah Khademi told ISNA, Trend reports.
Khademi stressed that the railway line, located on the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), is one of its main priorities for Iran. A total of 800 million euros is needed for the construction of the mentioned railway line.
The deputy minister added that discussions are underway between Iran and Russia regarding the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line. The representatives of Russia got acquainted with the technical documents of this railway line, as well as the place where the railway will be built. Currently, Iran is waiting for the Russian public or private sector to provide needed funds as loans or in another way.
"If the Russian side makes a good offer, Iran will accept it. However, if there is no proposal from the Russian side or if the proposal is not received positively by Iran, Iran will implement the construction of this railway at the expense of local resources," he said.
Khademi also noted that in the coming weeks, Russia is expected to put forward a proposal for the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line.
"In any case, Iran will not wait for Russia or China to make any proposal to finance the construction of the mentioned railway line, and will consider other ways for financing," he pointed out.
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.
Iran's 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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