By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan and Iran, which have recently boosted the bilateral cooperation, decided to accelerate construction of the Astara (Iran) - Astara (Azerbaijan) railway line and connecting the railways of the two countries.
Mohammadali Najafi, the governor of the Iranian province of Gilan, said this issue was discussed at a meeting with participation of Iran’s Minister of Communication and Information Technologies and co-chairman of the Iran-Azerbaijan intergovernmental commission Mahmoud Vaezi, Gilan administration reported on September 17.
"The length of the Astara (Azerbaijan) - Astara (Iran) railway is seven kilometers. Its two-kilometer section is being built on the territory of Iran. A decision was made at the meeting to build a cargo terminal in Iran’s Astara," Najafi said.
He added that Iran is interested in the rapid construction of the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway, which part of the North-South transport corridor.
"This railway will facilitate the way from Central Asia and Europe to the Persian Gulf and connect Iran with these regions and the Caucasus," Najafi said.
He also noted that previously, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani instructed to complete the railway construction in 2016.
The investments made in the construction are estimated at $ 400 million.
At the initial stage, it is planned to transport six million metric tons per year and up to 15-20 million metric tons per year in the future.
Azerbaijan and Iran have had diplomatic relations since 1918. Iran recognized Azerbaijan's independence in 1991 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were reestablished in 1992.
Tehran and Baku have recently intensified bilateral relations with an expectation of further deepening all-out cooperation between the two close neighbors.
Rouhani’s administration, which voiced commitment to enhance ties with the neighboring countries, has given special importance to development of ties with Azerbaijan.
Currently, the two countries are focused on expanding economic ties in various fields, including industry, agriculture, energy, alternative energy, and transportation.
Iran's export to Azerbaijan during the first half of 2015 decreased 55.36 percent to $42.52 million year-on-year. Azerbaijan's export to Iran also decreased 67.11 percent to $11.16 million during that period.