Bulgaria says Iran serious on Europe rail link

Bulgaria says it has seen positive signs that Iran is determined to press ahead with a plan to establish a multimodal transit link that involves a railroad that passes through its territory toward the heart of Europe. 

Bulgaria’s Presidential Office announced in a statement that the issue had been raised in the meeting between President Rosen Plevneliev and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani.  The two met in New York on the sidelines of the 71st session of the UN General Assembly.

“A railroad link with Europe that uses Georgia and Bulgaria as gateways into the continent is on the agenda for Iran,” President Plevneliev’s Office said in its statement.

Iran said in May that it is working on a plan to create a combined transit route that would pass through its territory as well as several Central Asian countries before reaching Europe.

Hassan Ashouri, the deputy for development affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, has been quoted by the media as saying that Iran’s proposed transit route that will start from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas has been specially designed to dodge Turkey to reach the West.

Ashouri said the route – that will involve rail and road links – will cross the Iranian border into Azerbaijan and thereon to Georgia, adding an agreement between the three countries to the same effect has already been reached.

In Georgia, it will lead to the country’s Batumi and Poti ports from where goods thus transited will be shipped to the ports in Bulgaria and Romania and thereon to the rest of Europe.

Ashouri further said that a section of the project could extend to Moscow and thereon to Finland, adding that a basic agreement on the same front has already been signed between the railway authorities of Russia and Georgia.

He also emphasized that the transit route could even take goods from Mumbai for exports to Europe without having to go through Turkey.

By Press TV