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Iran plans $25 billion rail investment splurge

Source: Press TV

Iran has chalked up a plan for $25 billion of investment to modernize and expand its rail network, Managing Director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways Mohsen Poursaeed-Aqaei says.

The country is courting investors with a number of incentives as it seeks to turn into a regional transportation hub by establishing a railway corridor linking the Persian Gulf and the subcontinent to the Central Asia and beyond.

“We have defined about $25 billion of rail projects for which we have prepared incentive packages to attract domestic and foreign investment,” Poursaeed-Aqaei told the Tasnim news agency on Tuesday.

The push for investment comes amid growing international enthusiasm for trade with Tehran while the country seeks to profit from its coastlines in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian to build an integrated transit route.

The International North-South Transport Corridor between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and the Central Asia for freight transportation by the ship, rail, and road will join the Silk Road.

Officials say Iran’s plans include increasing the country’s track lengths to 25,000 kilometers by 2025 from under 15,000 kilometers now.

According to Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Netmatzadeh, Iran needs $1.5 billion of annual investment in the sector in the next six years.

A train passing by a wheat field in Iran's Golestan province

Iran is a vast country, with an area of more than 1.6 million square kilometers. Its rail network accounts for less than 11% of the overall transportation, in which 33 million people are carried annually in the country of about 80 million.

Much of Iran's transportation is road-based characterized by high accident rates and death toll.

Deputy Transportation Minister Valiollah Afkhami-Rad recently said Iran is interested in the Japanese technology for establishing high-speed rail in order to expand its intercity transportation.

Representatives of more than 20 Japanese companies are currently visiting Iran with Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida who struck an agreement on a bilateral investment pact on Monday.

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