September 19, 2022
Middle East Briefing reports:
Iran is seeking to launch a direct train route to China within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Director General of Commercialization and Associations Affairs Bureau at the Iran Ministry of Roads and Urban Development Amin Taraffo has stated.
Iran joined the SCO as a full member last week.
Taraffo said that the route will contribute to further strengthening of relations among Iran and SCO member countries in the field of cargo transportation and transit. The main terminus of the route from Tehran will be China’s Shanghai, on its east coast.
Taraffo added that in order to simplify international transit and cargo transportation, as well as, exports and imports the necessary opportunities should be created and strengthened among the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which implies that the he is discussing an extension of the planned China railway via Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to Turkmenistan, possibly by better developing Iran’s national railway to Turkmenistan’s. Ashgabat, the Turkmen capital, and hub of its rail network is close to the Iranian border.
“Along with the increase in trade ties, the potential of transit corridors will also increase. Hopefully, by taking a number of steps in Tehran in the next few days, conditions will be created to strengthen relations between Iran and SCO member countries and increase transit,” he said.
According to Taraffo, Iran has signed agreements on cargo transportation and transit with the member states of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), and the countries located on the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). Much of Taraffo’s plans are based on existing track and the planned rail connection from China through to Uzbekistan, which has already been tested albeit with some multimodal assistance between China and Uzbekistan. The Iranian section will also need upgrading.