Russia, Iran to sign agreement on Rasht-Astara construction

“We just discussed the signing of a bilateral agreement between the two countries on extension of the Rasht-Astara railroad with [Iranian] Ambassador. Hopefully it will be done [agreement will be signed] as early as in May as we have agreed almost on everything. Agreement procedures are underway now,” he said on the sidelines of the Caucasus Investment Exhibition in Mineralnye Vody. “It is a very important step <…> to connect railroad infrastructure of Russia and Iran,” Novak added, TASS reported.

Iranian Ambassador to Moscow Kazem Jalali said earlier that the signing of the agreement on construction of the Rasht-Astara section was expected in the near future.

First Deputy Managing Director of Russian Railways Sergey Pavlov said in March that the construction was estimated at around $1.6 bln. According to the Iranian side’s design decisions, the construction of the Rasht-Astara section will take four years, though Pavlov did not rule out the possibility of the term’s reduction.

The project is aimed at connecting the land sections of the International North-South Transport Corridor, which will permit raising the economic efficiency of the trans-Caspian route. Some 170 km long, the Rasht-Astara line is planned to be constructed by Moscow and Tehran. Meanwhile the line connecting the Iranian city of Astara and the Azerbaijani city of Astara will be built by Moscow, Tehran and Baku.


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