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Rasht-Caspian Railway: How Could It Help Iran Negate Isolation From Global Trade?

© Photo : X/@APA_English An X screenshot of the June 20, 2024 unveiling of the Rasht-Caspian railway line in Iran.
 An X screenshot of the June 20, 2024 unveiling of the Rasht-Caspian railway line in Iran. - Sputnik International, 1920, 22.06.2024
Iran’s Minister of Transport Mehrdad Bazrpash touted the opening of the Rasht-Caspian railway as a historic development, which he said will significantly boost the country’s cargo transit capacities.
The Rasht-Caspian railway line, which was recently unveiled in Iran, is a vital project for the Islamic Republic, especially in terms of its economic significance, Stanislav Tarasov, political scientist and expert on the Middle East and the Caucasus, told Sputnik.

"Currently, the Rasht-Caspian project is the main part of the International North-South Transport Corridor" that connects the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea, the expert recalled.

"The project is the most effective railway route with a direct link to Russia, which can add to a significant rise in trade turnover between Tehran and Moscow," Tarasov said.
One can perceive the Rasht-Caspian project as an international transit route, which could be of interest to such countries as China and India, according to the pundit.

"The emergence of such a communication corridor will strengthen the regional security system one way or another, a geopolitical aspect meaning that Iran is completely pulling out of [international trade] isolation," Tarasov concluded.

The 37-km railway line, which connects the Iranian city of Rascht to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, was launched in northern Iran on June 20. Located in Iran’s Gilan province near the Caspian Sea’s southern coast, this rail line is part of the International North–South Transport Corridor (NSTC), a 7,200-kilometer transportation network that connects ship, rail, and road routes for moving cargo between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe.
In May 2023, Russia and Iran signed documents to complete the last section of the railway with the western route of the NSTC, from Rasht to Astara, worth 1.6 billion euros ($1,7 billion). The sum includes Russia’s 1.3 billion euro ($1.39) loan, with the rest coming from Iran.
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