Iran, Russia sign $1.6bn contract to build Rasht-Astara railway

Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia have signed an agreement worth $1.6 billion to build the Rasht-Astara railway, a project in northern Iran which will be key to transit of cargo through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

The contract was signed on Wednesday in Tehran between Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash and Russia’s Minister of Transport Vitaly Savelyev. 

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was present in the ceremony where the contract was signed while Russian President Vladimir Putin attended via a video conference link.

The 162-kilometer railway will connect the city of Rasht, near the Caspian Sea, to Astara on the border with Azerbaijan. Once completed, the rail link will allow rail freight transport from the Persian Gulf to Helsinki in Finland via Russia's Saint Petersburg. 

Major development in Iran-Russia ties

During the ceremony, Raisi described the signing of the contract on Rasht-Astara railway as “a major and strategic development” in cooperation between Iran and the Russian Federation.

Raisi thanked Putin for his support for the project and said that the completion of the INSTC would benefit not only Iran and Russia, but all countries in the region.

Putin also delivered a speech in the ceremony and said that the Rasht-Astara railway will allow for a change and diversification of global transportation routes.

He said the INSTC corridor will play a major role in guaranteeing food security in Iran and countries in the Persian Gulf region.

The Russian president said relations between Russia and Iran are at their highest level, adding that Moscow pays special attention to ties with Tehran.

Putin also thanked Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei for his support for the growing ties between Iran and Russia.

News ID 195328

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