Nuclear deal with Iran gives up hopes for Armenian transportation project
Baku, Azerbaijan, July 30
By Elmira Tariverdiyeva - Trend:
A nuclear deal with Iran has become the beginning of many changes and not always positive for some regional countries. Armenia will certainly become one of the "victims". The hopes for many joint projects with Iran, which the Islamic Republic was ready to finance, shattered.
One of them was the North-South corridor project, namely the construction of a highway connecting Armenia, Iran and Georgia, as well as the Iran-Armenia railway project.
However, Iranian ambassador to Armenia Mohammad Reis has recently said at a press conference that he still believes that Armenia can become a bridge between the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea.
But it is now clear that this project will not be implemented. The sanctions have been lifted. And Tehran will not want to invest even the planned funds in the railway project. And there are several reasons.
The Iranian officials have repeatedly said during the period of sanctions that Iran is waiting for the project implementation and is ready to build a railway line with a length of 90 kilometers on its territory up to the border with Armenia. However, Iran's participation in the project shouldn't go beyond this.
Armenia, on the next stage, should have itself realized a much larger part of the project using its own money, which it indeed doesn't have, or by means of raising investments, which it doesn't have either, and will never have at all.
It is unlikely that anyone would like to invest in the project, which is estimated at $3.2 billion, given that it doesn't have any prospects.
During the recent BRICS summit held in Russia's Ufa, and at the EEU and SCO, the Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan actually invited these organizations to participate in the construction of the Armenia-Iran railway.
But no one has expressed any interest in the project.
This is not surprising, because Russia is the only country that could invest in the project, linking it with Iran.
Russia, however, wouldn't do that, as it has a much more convenient link with Iran, that is, the 'North-South' railway, running through Azerbaijan.
And this project has many advantages over the Armenian-Iranian transport corridor.
It is obvious that the fewer countries the railway crosses, the easier the cargo transportation process will be. Moreover, the project involving Armenia envisages crossing the borders of three countries, while in the project for construction of the railway through Azerbaijan there are only two.
Meanwhile, running a Russian transport route through Georgia is a quite problematic and while having a convenient alternative, Moscow will unlikely resolve it in the near future.
This is while the operating infrastructure and almost all legal documents are ready in the project for construction of North-South railway through Azerbaijan. Therefore, Moscow has repeatedly expressed readiness to invest in the construction of the missing section of the road in Iran as part of the project being implemented jointly with Azerbaijan.
So, Moscow which is facing financial crisis, or Iran which now should make up leeway, will unlikely make investments in the implementation of the much more problematic project "from scratch".
Edited by CN
Elmira Tariverdiyeva is Trend Agency's staff writer