Iran plans to build a railway that will connect cities in Turkey, Armenia and the Azerbaijani exclave Nakhichevan, Iran.ru reported quoting Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi. The Iranian minister said that his country is eager to connect the northern Iranian city of Rasht with Turkey through a railway.
"We are developing a railway project from Rasht to Zenjan and Tabriz. That railway will connect the cities in Turkey, Armenia and Nakhichevan," he said.
Akhoundi said that the project includes the city of Tabriz and the Iranian province of Gilan, to connect them with Azerbaijan. He also said that Iran is seeking to expand the railway network to Qasr-e Shirin in Iraq, and then to Syria and the Mediterranean Sea through Kurdistan. There is railway between Armenia and Nakhichevan, but does not work today, because of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
In 2014 the Armenian government upheld the 300-kilometer railway project to connect Iran and Armenia, estimated to cost $3.5 billion. The project calls for construction of 64 bridges of total extent of 19.4 kilometers, 60 tunnels (102.3 kilometers) and 27 stations. The road if built is to transport 25 million tons of cargo a year.
The project of the railroad was developed by China's CCCC International, and Chinese banks have expressed willingness to finance 60% of it.