Aug 3, 2022, 1:22 PM
Journalist ID: 1844
News Code: 84843291
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Construction of Rasht-Astara railway and regional interest

Tehran, IRNA – Recently, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, in the meeting with Vladimir Putin, confirmed the words of the Russian President about the necessity of starting the Rasht-Astara railway line and said, "This work will complete the North-South transportation line and benefit both countries."

The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line is one of the important projects in the field of transportation, which after the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan has always been one of the focal points of Tehran-Baku negotiations and has been the focus of the late presidents of the two countries since the presidency of Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani and Heydar Aliyev. Aliyev referred to the meeting with the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution on 19/02/2001 regarding the establishment of a North-South transit line through the railway from Russia to the north of Iran and finally, Bandar Abbas and the Baku transit road, saying, "By carrying out these plans, the cooperation between the two countries will expand a lot."

Transporting goods by rail has many advantages in terms of security, speed, and price compared to transport by road, and rail costs are much lower than sea and road costs.

Due to its special geopolitical situation, the Islamic Republic of Iran is the link connecting Asia to Europe and Africa, and the construction of railway lines doubles the importance of Iran's transit position in the region.

Completing the North-South Corridor with the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway will not only improve Iran's transit position, but also connect the countries of the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan to the Black Sea and Europe. Annually, at least two million tons of cargo can be transported through this route, and this event brings about a major change in international and regional transportation and the promotion of trade exchanges. Also, with the launch of this rail project, the transportation of goods will be reduced by 25 days compared to the sea route, and this situation will bring a 30% reduction in cost.

The amount of traffic expected in the first year of operating the Rasht-Astara axis is about three million tons of cargo and two hundred thousand passengers, which will increase to four million tons of cargo and five hundred thousand passengers in the following years. Currently, millions of tons of goods are transited from India and European countries to the Caucasus region within sixty days, which will be reduced to ten to fourteen days with the completion of the North-South Corridor.

The construction of the Rasht-Astara railway has helped the South-West Corridor project and the economic development of Chabahar Port and facilitates transportation from Iran to the Indian Ocean. Considering the war in Ukraine and the insecurity in parts of the Black Sea, the use of Iran's route will be important for European countries as well.

The first stage of this route, under the name of Astara-Astara railway, was opened in April 2017 with the virtual presence of the presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan. At this stage, the Astara railway line of Azerbaijan was connected to Astara of Iran with the investment of the Republic of Azerbaijan. On March 15 of this year, the final stage of the Qazvin-Rasht railway line was launched, and this event created a point of hope for the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line.

For the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway line with a length of 165 km, the cost is estimated to be one billion dollars, and the Republic of Azerbaijan has announced its readiness to invest (finance) in the amount of five hundred million dollars. Considering Mr. Putin's interest in launching this route, we can also count on Russia's financial participation.

If the second stage of the Rasht-Astara railway line on the Rasht-Anzali route with a distance of 35 km is launched within the next year, the strengthening of combined transportation (sea-road-rail) will not only lead to a large income generation in the country, but also economic progress in Gilan Province.

The Rasht-Astara railway line is not only the axis of friendship between Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan, but it will strengthen Iran's neighborhood policy and develop relations with neighboring countries, especially Russia. President Raisi's order to the first vice president to speed up the implementation of the important Rasht-Astara transit corridor, which was issued after his meeting with Mr. Putin, is considered important in this regard.

The last point is that the people of Iran and the region expect the implementation of the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway to begin and end in the 13th government and to take a big step towards strengthening the economy and neutralizing the cruel US sanctions against Iran.


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