Minister: Tehran Determined to Complete Iran-Turkmenistan Railway
TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Minister of Road and Urbanization Ali Nikzad said Ashgabat's recent decision to annul a contract with an Iranian company over the construction of a key railway linking Iran to the Central Asia does not mean an end to the project and Tehran will accomplish construction of the railway which is a vital North-South corridor.
"The termination of Turkmenistan's contract with an Iranian company will not affect the two country's joint railway construction project," Nikzad told FNA on Monday.
"This railway line will be inaugurated in due time," the Iranian minister reiterated.
Meantime, he said Turkmenistan might have annulled the contract with the Iranian company in a bid to strike a better deal with the same or a different contractor.
Yet, the Iranian minister underscored that Iran will accomplish its undertakings with regard to this project.
Earlier media reports said that Turkmenistan has annulled a $700 million contract for an Iranian company to build a key section of the key railway line.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting chaired by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov.
During the cabinet meeting, the Turkmen president said Turkmenistan will build this section independently.
Yesterday, Iran started laying the rail line of a key transit and transportation project linking Iran's Northern city of Gorgan to IncheBoron in Turkmenistan.
Speaking to FNA, Iranian Deputy Minister of Road and Urbanization Seyed Ahmad Sadeqi said that the last phase of the construction of the railway officially started in a ceremony with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in attendance.
He said that construction of the infrastructures of the 80km long railway has already been finished.
The railway will link Iran to Turkmenistan and then to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and will connect the CIS countries with the Indian Ocean and high seas and the Persian Gulf littoral states.
The primary agreement on the construction of the rail link among Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan was signed between presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in April 2007 in the city of Turkmenbashi and its final agreement was signed in a summit meeting in Tehran in September of the same year by the three presidents.
The total route of the railway is 1000 kilometers, of which 90 kilometers would be in Iran, 700 kilometers in Turkmenistan and 210 kilometers in Kazakhstan.
The railway facilitates transportation of goods from the Central Asian countries to the Persian Gulf.