0437 GMT January 27, 2020
The Rasht-Astara railway is a section of the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway, which is currently under construction.
Earlier on Wednesday, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the construction of a railway bridge over the Astara River on the Azerbaijani-Iranian border.
Vaezi said the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway will link Iran's railway network to that of Azerbaijan. "Iran's section of the Qazvin-Rasht railway is 92 percent complete and the remaining portion is expected to be laid in the near future," he said. "The Qazvin-Rasht project is expected to be completed by late 2016."
As for the Rasht-Astara section, Vaezi said that studies on the project have been completed and Iran is preparing to finance the project.
He said an expected $900 million to $1 billion will be required for Rasht-Astara railway project, of which $500 million will be financed through an Azerbaijani loan.
"Allocation of a loan by Azerbaijan to this project will expedite the implementation of the North-South transportation corridor," he added.
Vaezi said Iran will provide the remainder of the funds for the project.
Plans to transit 10 million tons of goods per year from the Persian Gulf to Russia and the Black Sea, as well as to Europe, will be materialized once Rasht-Astara railway becomes operational thus linking Qazvin to Astara.
As for the construction of the railway bridge over the Astara River, Vaezi said the bridge was designed by Iran and Azerbaijan, which initiated the project based on a 50-50 share in investment.
He further said Iran is constructing a huge terminal in Astara (Iranian sector).
Iran's Ambassador in Baku Mohsen Pakaein told Trend on Wednesday that goods are currently transited from India to Europe in 60 days, but following the completion of the North-South corridor, the transit period will be reduced to less than 14 days.