Thus far, notable transit routes such as Bandar Abbas-Tehran, Chabahar-Tehran, Incheh Borun-Dogharun, and Qazvin-Rasht railways have been successfully operationalized in Iran to facilitate the functioning of the INSTC. However, the construction of the 164-kilometer stretch of the Rasht-Astara railway encountered delays due to the lengthy route and insufficient funds.
Preceding President Raeisi’s visit to Russia, discussions arose during the meetings of expert delegations in Moscow, a gathering which I had the privilege of attending, where the Russians announced intentions to earmark a credit line for transportation projects in Iran. Within the meetings held between the two delegations, the Iranian representatives effectively convinced their Russian counterparts to incorporate the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway within this designated credit line.
Subsequently, when President Raeisi embarked on his journey to Moscow, this proposal found its place on the agenda and received Moscow’s endorsement during the bilateral talks between the two countries’ leaders. Following this, Russian expert delegations made multiple visits to Iran, inspecting the Rasht-Astara railway region, culminating in the signing of the crucial and strategic railway construction contract.
Essentially, this railroad represents the missing link within the INSTC, allowing countries across East and Southeast Asia, as well as the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, to make use of it and thereby generating substantial revenues for Iran.
Moreover, the operation of this railway will enable Iranian exporters and traders to reach their target markets with reduced costs, heightened security, and increased efficiency.
Presently, my hope rests upon the strong determination shared between the Iranian and Russian governments to foster cooperation, urging the swift implementation of the Rasht-Astara railway construction plan. The realization of this endeavor will not only augment regional countries’ focus and reliance on this transit corridor but will also yield significant economic benefits for Iran.