By Rasana Gasimova
The construction of the highway between Iranian and Azerbaijani Astara regions has started, Iranian Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Khayrullah Khademi, told local media.
The length of the road is about 1,300 meters.
Khademi said that "the transit of products and the transportation of citizens between Iran and Azerbaijan is one of the main tasks."
"In this regard, a new border terminal has been built outside the city,"
He also clarified the situation with the Rasht-Astara railway: “Since the railway passes through cultivated areas in some places, these territories must be acquired from farmers,” he said.
He noted that according to initial estimates, 60-70 trillion rials (about $1.42-1.66 billion dollars) have been provided for this. As it is impossible to provide these funds in one to two years, in addition to the annual budget, other funding sources are provided to accelerate the pace of construction.
Iran sees Azerbaijan as a hub to reach larger regional markets. The transport cooperation between the two countries is crucial in the realization of the International North-South Transport Corridor project.
Earlier this month, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said that an agreement on connecting the main roads between Iran and Azerbaijan has already been reached.
He praised the cooperation between Azerbaijan and Iran in the transport sector and said that the increase in transit and trade has positively affected relations between the two countries.
He noted that an agreement was reached with Azerbaijan on the construction of the Baku-Astara-Rasht highway and connection of the two countries’ highways.
The Rasht-Astara railroad project is jointly carried out by Iran and Azerbaijan, each providing 50 percent of the required funding. Azerbaijan funded $500 million and Iran invested the same amount in the project.
To complete the railway links of the transportation corridor, Iran had earlier agreed to construct inland railroad segments in northern parts of the country in order to extend its railways to the border area with the neighboring Azerbaijan through the two Astara cities on both sides. The initial plan included the Qazvin-Rasht and Rasht-Astara railroad segments.
The main goal of strategic cooperation between the railways of Iran and Azerbaijan is activating the International North-South Transportation Corridor which will eventually link Russia and Azerbaijan to High-Seas through the Islamic Republic.
The INSTC, a 7,200 kilometer-long freight route connecting India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road, is meant to connect Northern Europe with Southeast Asia. The main objective of the INSTC is to provide an alternative to the traditional routes carried out by sea through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean and the Baltic Sea.
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