TEHRAN, Sept. 13 (CDTIC) — China has signaled keenness to develop Irans rail infrastructure in exchange for crude oil, an Iranian official says.
Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development Kheirollah Khademi said Chinese developers have indicated eagerness to develop railroad projects in OPEC-member Iran.
During a meeting with a Chinese delegation in Tehran, the official said Iran's rail network covers nearly 13,000 kilometers of track, adding the country plans to add another 9,000 kilometers to the network which will also include express railroads.
The Chinese delegation had met with Mr. Khademi to explore avenues towards investment and construction of rail projects in Iran.
During the meeting, Khademi underlined development of Iran's rail network as a top priority for the Iranian government, noting an express train track is currently under construction by China, stretching from the cities of Tehran and Qom to Isfahan, in central Iran.
He also proposed that a joint venture can be formed by Iranian and Chinese developers for building the Tehran-Mashad express train project that will cover a 900-km track.
"The project will play a crucial role in facilitating access of the visitors of Imam Reza (the 8th Shia Imam)'s holy shrine in the city of Mashad," Khademi said.
To mention another project up for grabs by Chinese investors, the official said the Tehran-Tabriz (located in northeastern Iran) railroad project is another plan ready for investment by Chinese financiers.
The 700-km railway can also be linked to Turkey which is an important option to consider economically and commercially, he said.
For his part, a representative of the Chinese delegation voiced his country's willingness to join rail infrastructure projects in Iran, adding the removal of sanctions on Tehran has made it possible for enhancing cooperation between the two countries.
He proposed that Beijing can barter rail and technologies with Iran for oil, which would of course require the support of the China Overseas Development Association.
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