Sunday, September 10, 2017

China Considers Iran Vital Belt & Road Hub

Financial Tribune - Sunday, September 10, 2017 

China’s strategic interest in Iran is intensifying, as Chinese manufacturers seek to establish new operations in Iran.
Tehran is viewed as a vital transport and logistics hub, reads a commentary by EurasiaNet.org. Below is the full text:
Iran is focusing in 2017 on expanding its railroad network so that it can better align with China’s Central Asian logistics strategy, Iranian Roads Minister Abbas Akhoundi said recently.
The minister added that the chief goal for Iran’s Department of Transportation would be to improve connections of the national rail network to neighboring railroad networks.
China is also providing $1.5 billion in financing to electrify the Tehran-Mashhad trunk line, and another $1.8 billion to establish a high-speed rail connection linking Tehran, Qom and Isfahan. In return, Iranian authorities are slashing transit tariffs for Chinese goods.
The Iranian upgrades are seen as crucial to achieve two Chinese trade priorities–expand commerce with Turkey and widen access for Chinese goods to Iranian ports near the Strait of Hormuz.
Beijing hopes to see trains running between the western Chinese region of Kashgar and Turkey’s Istanbul as soon as 2020. Iranian railroads figure to serve as key links in routes through both Central Asia and the Caucasus.

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