Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi announced that a railroad connecting Iran’s northern city of Astara to Azerbaijan Republic’s Astara is planned to come into operation in coming months.
Various efforts have been made in the current Iranian administration to facilitate and improve the activities of the two countries’ merchants, Vaezi said at Iran-Azerbaijan Business Forum held in the northwestern Iranian city of Oroumiyeh on Thursday evening.
As an example, with the coming into service of the railroad connecting Iran’s Astara and Azerbaijan’s Astara in the early months of the next Iranian year (which will begin on March 21), the two sides will witness the formation of a better way to use rail transport system to boost bilateral trade between the two countries.
He went on to say that the railroad not only will have a positive impact on Tehran-Baku relations but also on ties among the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).
At a meeting in Baku on July 3, 2016, officials from Iran, Russia, and Azerbaijan exchanged views on the cost of building the crucial rail link project, which envisages connecting Iran’s northern city of Rasht with Azerbaijan’s Astara.
The three sides also studied the possibility of Russia’s participation in financing the project.
The budget for completion of Rasht-Astara railroad project is estimated at $1.1 billion, part of which will be supplied by the $500 million loan from Azeri banks.
The entire project constitutes part of the north-south corridor.
The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a multipurpose route for the transit of goods between Iran, Russia, Europe, India and Central Asia via shipping lines, railroad and land routes.
(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)