Delays in construction of Iran-Azerbaijan railways
By Messenger Staff
Thursday, March 5The meeting between Iran and Azerbaijan concerning the construction of the Iran-Azerbaijan connecting railway has been delayed, Russian participants of the meeting state. They say that this delay has been brought about because the Iranian side had not properly prepared for the meeting.
The new railway is envisaged as an essential part of the north-south transport corridor connecting Russia to India and China via Azerbaijan and Iran. The issue of constructing the railway has been discussed for over 8 years now. The creation of a joint venture including the participation of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia was initially planned, however Iran tried to build the railway independently until 2007. Constructions will be renewed if the resumed discussions have a positive outcome.
The March meeting was due to discuss the feasibility study prepared by Russian experts. However it is now doubtful that the meeting will be held at all. Russian newspaper Gudok states that Iran is getting ready for June elections and is busy with this issue.
If Iran restarts the railway construction in the near future the project might be completed by the end of 2009. Azerbaijan would need to build a14 kilometre railway section up to the Iranian border and a depot for changing wheels from Russian to European standards. There are some financial issues which are also the subject of negotiation at present.