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Iran, Azerbaijan emphasize expediting North-South railway corridor construction

Monday, March 16
The head of Iran's Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization, Davoud Keshavarzian emphasized on speeding up of the construction of North-South corridor.

Keshavarzian made the remark in a meeting with Arif Asgarov, the head of Azerbaijan Railways, the press service of Iranís embassy to Baku told Trend March 11.

Keshavarzian said that once the railway comes on stream, Russia and Azerbaijan will be linked to the Gulf via Iran.

The Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway with the length of 375 kilometers is currently the missing link in the North-South transport corridor and it will link the Northern Europe to South-East Asia. It will link the railroads of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.

The construction of the Qazvin-Rasht railway with the length of 205 kilometers has already been completed. Its capacity will be equal to 1.4 million passengers and 5-7 million metric tons of cargo per year, according to the preliminary estimates. Some 22 tunnels, 15 bridges will be built on the railway. The construction of 15 tunnels has already been completed.

Asgarov in his turn said that the railway will connect Azerbaijan to Iranís southern Bandar Abbas port in the Persian Gulf and would prepare ground for transferring goods from the EU to the south.

The Azerbaijani official also said that Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is planned to come on stream in 2018, adding entire regional countries can use the path to access EU markets.

In Mid-January Mohsen Pakayeen, Iranian ambassador to Baku said that the railway companies of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia have signed a document on expediting the construction of Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway and the implementation of the project will be accelerated in 2015.

He reiterated that both Iran and Azerbaijan prioritize construction of Rasht-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway, adding, the 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.

Trade turnover between Iran and Azerbaijan reached $433.8 million during the first eleven months of current Iranian fiscal year (March 21, 2014-Feb. 20), 7.42 percent less compared to the same months of the preceding year, according to the Islamic Republicís Customs Administration.

Iran exported $414.51 million worth of goods to Azerbaijan during the period, which indicates a fall by 6.4 percent year on year. Iran also imported some $19.304 million worth of goods from Azerbaijan during the period, 29.5 percent less than the last fiscal year's first eleven months (March 21, 2013 to Feb. 20, 2014).

Iran's trade balance with Azerbaijan stood at $450 million in the previous Iranian fiscal year, which ended on March 20, 2014.