Once the Shalamcheh-Basra Railroad project is completed, Iran will be connected to West Asia and the Mediterranean, which is promising news, Mehrdad Bazrpash emphasized, Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday.
Iran had previously decided to complete the construction operation of the Shalamcheh-Basra railroad with its own investment, but since this giant project was very important and strategic for Iraq, the Iraqi government approved about $200 million for launching this railroad project as a joint venture.
Accordingly, it was agreed that the construction of the railroad will be carried out by Iraqi investors, while Iran will carry out demining 16 kilometers of the rail line, Iran’s minister of roads noted.
Bazrpash pointed to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and said that Iran has taken serious steps to contribute to the launch of this strategic corridor.
After an agreement reached with Russia on the construction of the Rasht-Astara Road, Iran agreed to complete the construction operation of the North-South Corridor with neighboring Iraq, the minister added.
Meanwhile, the head of Afghanistan’s railroad department visited the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad to coordinate efforts to complete the final section of the Khaf-Herat railroad project.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Bakht-ur-Rahman Sharafat said the railroad project is pivotal for both Afghanistan and Iran as it provide a vital connection to Europe and the Indian Ocean.
Iran and Afghanistan inaugurated their first joint railroad network in December 2020 to link Khaf in northeastern Iran with the Afghan town of Rozanak. However, plans for extending the project to reach Herat, Afghanistan’s third-largest city, were stalled following the collapse of the former US-backed government in Kabul.
Sharafat said the primary goal of his visit to Iran was to form a consortium aimed at completing the final section of the crucial railroad line. The Herat-Khaf railroad, spanning 226 kilometers, connects Afghanistan to Iran’s extensive railroad network.
The railroad line from Khaf to Rozanak in Herat Province has been successfully completed, with the remaining segment from Rozanak to Herat city currently being under construction.
The Khaf-Herat railroad is also a key part of a 2,000-kilometer-long rail network that spans from China, passing through Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, and ultimately connecting with Europe.