A multi-million dollar project on Rasht-Astara railway route, a part of the International North-South Transportation Corridor, is expected to be launched this year.
The construction of the section of Resht-Astara will cost Iran $1.1 billion. Azerbaijan will provide Iran with a loan of 500 million euros to complete the construction of the railway section.
The two countries, within the International North-South Transport Corridor [a multi-model route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe], are making efforts to connect their railways through the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara route, connecting Iran’s northern city of Astara to its namesake in the Azerbaijan.
Nourollah Beiranvand, the deputy for planning and investment at Iran Railways, told Trend that Azerbaijan agreed to allocate this fund.
“Taking into account the mutual benefit of the Rest-Astara railway for the two countries, the Azerbaijani government agreed to finance the project,” Beiranvand said.
He denied the recent rumors that Baku will fully finance the construction of the Resht-Astara, saying that half of the required amount will be provided by Azerbaijan, and other half by Iran.
“The financing will be carried out in the form of a loan. The invested amount will be later deducted from the income of the project,” he said.
Beiranvand also touched upon the construction of the Astara railway station and said that Azerbaijan agreed to invest in the construction of the station and cargo terminals.
Azerbaijan earlier agreed to provide 60 million euros for developing railway facilities in Iranian city of Astara.
“Approximately half of this amount is projected to be used to finance the construction of a 1.4-kilometer railway in Astara, as well as the station building,” Beiranvand said.
The remaining half will be spent on the construction of four terminals, according the official.
This rail road link is important as it will significantly facilitate and expedite exchange of good and trade amongst Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.
The agreement signed between Azerbaijan Railways and Iran Railways envisages that Azerbaijan rents the railway line for a period of 15 years, and terminals for 25 years.
The transport corridor “North-South” is designed to connect Northern Europe with South-East Asia, including the unification of the railways of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia. At the first stage, along the corridor, it is planned to transport five million tons of cargo per year, increasing later to more than 10 million tons of cargo.
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