Iran, Azerbaijan Discuss Completion of North-South Corridor
During the meeting in Azerbaijan’s capital, Managing Director at Iran’s Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company Ali Noorzad and Head of Azerbaijan Railway Company Javid Qorbanov reviewed the operations for completion of the corridor.
The two sides agreed on construction of a railway bridge measuring 82.5 meters on Astara river along the common border and a 8.3-kilometer railway from Azerbaijan’s Astara terminal to Iran’s border.
In early October, Iran-Azerbaijan Joint Economic Cooperation Commission ratified implementation of the North-South Corridor.
“The two sides agreed on construction of the Rasht-Astara railway as well as completion of Qazvin-Rasht railway and connecting them to each other by 2016,” Iranian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Mohsen Pakayeen said.
“The Silk Road will also be completed by the Iranian and Azeri railways, and European countries such as Finland can be connected via Russia, Azerbaijan, and Iran to the Persian Gulf and Sea of Oman,” he added.
Earlier in September, Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi reiterated Tehran’s willingness to expand its railway connections with neighbors, and said Iran is ready to complete Qazvin-Rasht-Anzali-Astara railway through cooperation with Russia and Azerbaijan.
He made the remarks in a meeting with Azeri Minister of Economy and Industry Shahin Mustafayev in Tehran.
Akhoundi said that for the development of Iran-Azerbaijan transportation relations in addition to the completion of Qazvin-Astara railway which might take several years, two short-term mechanisms are proposed for speedy implementation.
“The first is extension of Azerbaijan railway up to Astara in Iran to transport commodities from Azerbaijan to Iran through railway and reload goods at Astara terminal. For this purpose, Azerbaijan should extend its railway another eight kilometer to reach the two countries’ shared border, which is possible in the short run,” he said.
As for the second mechanism, Akhoundi pointed to the construction of the 40 kilometer Rasht-Anzali railway.
He said that the goods shipped from Azerbaijan Republic to Iran’s Anzali Port can be reloaded on train destined for Bandar Abbas.