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Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in the ceremony of signing an agreement on the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi via videoconference at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia

Russia and Iran Ink Deal for Rail Link as Part of Intercontinental Trade Route

Russia and Iran signed an agreement Wednesday, May 17, to finance and build a railway line that will form part of a developing international cargo route they hope can become a major player in global shipping.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Ebrahim Raisi, participated via video link in the signing ceremony for the Rasht-Astara railway, inked by Iranian Roads and Urban Development Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash and Russia’s Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev.

The 162-kilometer (100-mile) route will run along the Caspian Sea coast and through Azerbaijan. It will be a key part of the International North-South Transport Corridor, a 7,200-kilometer (4,473-mile) combined road, rail, and sea route aimed at moving goods from Russia via Central Asia to India, slashing shipping costs and times.

“The unique North-South transport artery, of which the Rasht-Astara railway will become a part, will help to significantly diversify global traffic flows,” Putin said, according to British media.

“Without a doubt, this agreement is an important and strategic step in the direction of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow,” Raisi said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Russia will spend 1.6 billion Euros on the construction of the railway, whose completion is planned within 48 months, while Iran’s side of the project will cost about 4.6 billion Euros and it is looking for foreign investors to help cover the expense. (TOI / VFI News)