The project that started on Wednesday will connect the cities of Nehbandan to Yunesi in Iran’s province of South Khorasan with a railway that stretches nearly 400 kilometers in the arid deserts along Iran’s border with Afghanistan, according to Press TV.
Raeisi said in a speech in the provincial capital of Birjand that the railway will play a major role in the economic empowering of the region, adding that the government had earmarked all the financial and technical resources needed for the completion of the project.
The Nehbandan-Yunesi rail link passes through Birjand and several major cities in South Khorasan and is part of a 910-kilometer railway corridor between Zahedan, in southeast, and Mashhad in northeast Iran.
Head of the Iranian transportation ministry’s local department in Birjand said that the government will use oil barter financing mechanisms to fund the project.
Mir Mohammad Moudi said that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei had approved a government request to use 1,800 trillion rials ($360 million) worth of oil barter financing resources to fund the railway project in the region.
Iran has an ambitious plan to link its only ocean port of Chabahar on the Sea of Oman via railways to landlocked countries in Central Asia. The project would significantly boost Iran’s cargo transit capacity via the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
Construction is already underway for a railway connection between Chabahar and Zahedan with a first part of the link due to be opened until the end of the calendar year to March.