Spox dismisses US concern over Iran's expansion of ties with neighbors

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani has rejected as unjustified and invalid certain concerns voiced by the Biden administration over Tehran’s expansion of trade cooperation with other states.

Kanaani's remarks came after the US State Department’s principal deputy spokesperson voiced concern over the recent agreement between Iran and Russia on the construction of the Rasht-Astara railroad – a vital section of the North-South Corridor that connects South Asia to North Europe.

“Any steps or any project being undertaken to go around sanctions is something that we of course would find deeply concerning,” Vedant Patel said at a press briefing on May 17.

The signing of an agreement on the completion of the Rasht-Astara railroad in the presence of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin via videoconference, as well as the inauguration of joint border projects in the presence of Raisi and Prime Minister of Pakistan Shehbaz Sharif are all part of Iran’s “neighbor-oriented” policy.

He highlighted that such a strategy is based upon “cooperation for common security, development and welfare".

The agreement signed on Wednesday would facilitate the completion of a strategic part of the corridor, which stretches for 162 kilometers and connects the northern Iranian city of Rasht to Astara that lies on the border with the Republic of Azerbaijan.

According to the Iranian president’s website, Russia will make an investment of 1.6 billion euros in the railroad project, which is expected to come into operation within 48 months.

Moreover, the Iranian president and the Pakistani prime minister inaugurated the Pishin-Mand retail market at a border crossing between the two neighbors on Thursday.

The retail market was opened up at the border crossing that connects Iran’s southeastern city of Pishin to Pakistan’s southwestern city of Mand.

The two heads of state also launched an electricity exchange station that connects the power lines between Iran’s Pollan and Pakistan’s Jiwani.

News ID 195346

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