TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Ambassador to Baku Mohsen Pakayeen announced that Tehran, Baku and Moscow have agreed to speed up expansion of the troika railway connecting the three countries to each other in 2015.
“The railway companies of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia have signed a document on expediting the construction of this project and the implementation of the project will be accelerated in 2015,” Pakayeen said on Tuesday.
He reiterated that both Iran and Azerbaijan prioritize construction of Rasht-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway, and said, “This railway will link Iran to Azerbaijan and from there to Russia and it will provide a path for the access of the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS) to the South.”
Pakayeen, meantime, described Iran-Azerbaijan relations in 2014 as positive, and said, “The year 2014 was a very active year for both countries in terms of exchange of visits, specially for visits at the level of the presidents of the two countries.”
The Iranian ambassador noted that there are currently no obstacles hindering the expansion of the Iran-Azerbaijan relations.
Earlier this month, Gilan Province’s Governor-General Mohammad Ali Najafi announced that Russian and Chinese investors will provide enough finance for the giant project of Rasht-Astara railway.
Najafi said that the investment will be in the form of finance and the expert groups from Ministry of Roads and the Management and Planning Organization are busy taking the bid into consideration.
The project is expected to cost about 14,000 billion rials (Iranian currency), he added.
The official said the project is expected to be operational by next 18 months.
He further added that the railway connects Iran to the CIS countries and Russia on the North and the Persian Gulf states on the South.
Russia and China, as two main economic partners of Iran, have voice readiness to participate in implementation of the country’s infrastructural projects, including railroads.
In November 2011, Iranian officials informed that Russia and Azerbaijan have voiced their readiness for partnership in the implementation of the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway project.
Director-General of International Affairs at Iranian Railways (RAI) Abbas Nazari said the three countries are due to hold a meeting within the next month to decide on signing a contract with an international consultation company to start preliminary studies.
According to Nazari, the railway will be 75 km long and will cost $400 million.
Also, Iranian, Russian and Azeri officials in a series of meetings in February 2011 discussed prospects of railway construction in the North-South Corridor project.
They discussed creating a joint venture for the construction of the railway Qazvin-Rasht-Astara (Iran) to Astara (Azerbaijan), the design of construction and other issues.
The $400-million North-South transport corridor envisages creation of a single railway from Europe through Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran to India and South-East Asia. Most of the work will be done in Iran, which has no rail link to the border with Azerbaijan. Certain work worth $35-40 million is planned to be conducted in Azerbaijan.
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