Siemens to develop Iran’s railway infrastructure

By Sara Rajabova

Germany’s Siemens has won several deals to develop Irans’s railway infrastructure.

Europe's largest engineering conglomerate and Iran’s Railways reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in various fields on January 6.

The deal specifically concerns the electrification of Tehran-Mashhad railroad. The German company is expected to deal with the construction of Tehran-Isfahan high-speed railway, the signaling equipment, the electric locomotives, passenger train coaches as well as the related maintenance services for the railroad, Iranian media said.

Yashar Azad, a spokesman for Siemens told Trend that the company is ready to help Iran to improve its infrastructure sector.

Azad also noted that after the sanctions are lifted, Siemens and Iran will discuss possibilities of improving the country's infrastructure sector, in particular in railways sector, adding both parties have agreed to this.

Under the agreement Siemens will also take steps to transfer technology to Iran via selecting Iranian partners.

Siemens announced an end to business with Iran in 2010. High-tech exports from European firms have worried Western governments in light of Tehran's apparent ambition to build a nuclear bomb.

Siemens -- Europe's largest engineering firm -- selled about €500 million ($703.6 million) worth of goods to Iranian companies every year before the sanctions, according to Reuters. In 2009 that number amounted to 0.7 percent of its overall sales.

Right after clinching of the nuclear deal between the world powers and Iran last July, Siemens voiced readiness to return to Iran.

Siemens boss Joe Kaeser pointed to bright business prospects in Iran, especially when it came to the health and energy sector in that country.

Top Siemens representatives were part of a high-profile German business delegation which accompanied German Vice-Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel to Iran in mid-July.

Azad further underlined that any agreement will only take effect after lifting of all international sanctions, without giving further details about the signed document.

Iran’s IRNA reported that the German engineering powerhouse will in most of its projects be obliged to team up with Iranian companies, adding it will be meant to transfer know-how to the Iranian companies.

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Netmatzadeh said last May that the country wants to splurge up to $8 billion over the next six years to revamp and expand its railway network.

Netmatzadeh said there are plans to stretch out the nationwide railroad line to 25,000 kilometers by 2025 from under 15,000 kilometers now. He added that there was need for $1.5 billion of annual investment in the next six years as part of the country’s vision plan.

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Sara Rajabova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @SaraRajabova

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