TEHRAN, Iran – Officials in Tehran said on Tuesday that the country is working on a plan to create a combined transit route that would pass through its territory as well as several Central Asian countries before reaching Europe.
Hassan Ashouri, the deputy for development affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, has been quoted by the media as saying that Iran’s proposed transit route that will start from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas has been specially designed to dodge Turkey to reach the West.
Ashouri said the route – that will involve rail and road links – will cross the Iranian border into Azerbaijan and thereon to Georgia, adding an agreement between the three countries to the same effect has already been reached.
In Georgia, it will lead to the country’s Batumi and Poti ports from where goods thus transited will be shipped to the ports in Bulgaria and Romania and thereon to the rest of Europe.
Ashouri further said that a section of the project could extend to Moscow and thereon to Finland, adding that a basic agreement on the same front has already been signed between the railway authorities of Russia and Georgia.
He also emphasized that the transit route could even take goods from Mumbai for exports to Europe without having to go through Turkey.
The official further added that the transportation period – once the project comes on stream – will decrease from 45 days to 23 days given that it will bypass Turkey.
Azerbaijan in February proposed to establish a rail link that would connect link the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas to Helsinki, Finland. The project – called North-South corridor from India to Helsinki – was raised by Taleh Ziyadov, the director-general of the Baku International Sea Trade Port, in a forum in Dubai, as reported by Azeri media.