Iran, Uzbekistan ink railway co-op protocol

January 28, 2022 - 14:26

TEHRAN – Iran and Uzbekistan have signed a protocol to strengthen cooperation in the field of rail transport and promote the use of international transit corridors passing through the two countries, the portal of the Iranian Transport and Urban Development Ministry announced.

According to Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) Miad Salehi, the Railway Cooperation Protocol was signed between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Uzbekistan on Wednesday.

Establishing useful preferential tariff conditions, developing rail corridors, and regulating combined sea-rail transit are among the goals of the mentioned protocol.

The protocol has been signed on the sidelines of an Uzbek delegation’s visit to Iran, headed by the country’s deputy minister of investments and foreign trade.

The Uzbek delegation met with senior Iranian transport officials including Iranian Deputy Transport Minister Shahriar Afandizadeh and RAI Head Miad Salehi during their stay in Tehran.

In the meeting with Afandizadeh, which was also attended by managers of major transport organizations and representatives of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the latest status of transport and transit cooperation between the two countries was reviewed and the two sides drew a roadmap for strengthening and developing transport cooperation between the two countries. They also announced readiness to form specialized working groups in various road, rail, maritime, and aviation sectors.

Initial agreements were also reached to define new routes under the framework of the Convention on International Transport of Goods Under Cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention) and plan some trial cargo transport projects through these routes.

The two sides furthermore stressed the need to facilitate trade relations between the two countries by utilizing the capacities of the strategic port of Chabahar and its hinterland to develop international and transit transport with each other and with third countries from Central Asia to Southeast Asia.

The Uzbek delegation visited Chabahar port on Thursday to get acquainted with the capacities of Iran’s only Oceanic port.

During their visit to the port, they met with Behrooz Aghaei, the director-general of the Ports and Maritime Department of Sistan-Baluchistan Province, in which the port lies.

According to Aghaei, the two sides have discussed finalizing the joining of the Central Asian country to the Iranian mega project.

“The Uzbek economic delegation consisting of the deputy minister of transport and the deputy minister of trade traveled to Chabahar to finalize their country’s joining the Chabahar project," Aghaei said.

Aghaei added that the draft of the deal to finalize Uzbekistan’s joining the Chabahar project is ready and until the next month, in a visit to Tehran, Uzbekistan will officially join the Chabahar development project.

The strategic Chabahar port in southeastern Iran is the only ocean port on the Makran coast and it has a special place in the country's economic affairs.

Iran has already awarded India the project for installing and operating modern loading and unloading equipment including mobile harbor cranes in Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar.

Back in September 2021, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called on Central Asian countries to benefit from Chabahar Port capacities for expanding their trade in the region.