0154 GMT February 18, 2020
The first phase of Astara-Rasht track-laying work, 40 kilometers out of the total of 160 kilometers, will start soon, Rasouli was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency.
Rasouli said Azerbaijan has also invested $500 million for the construction of the railroad.
He urged the project contractor to finalize platforms and unloading facilities.
Earlier, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani emphasized the need for efforts to exponentially expand the relations and cooperation of Tehran-Baku, saying that the railway project of Rasht-Astara is an important step for the region and securing the interests of the two nations.
In his meeting with visiting Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov, Rouhani expressed satisfaction with the development of the positive relations and vigor created in the two countries' cooperation, and stated, 'The will of Iran's authorities is to exponentially expand and strengthen all-out ties with Azerbaijan.
In July, Iranian and Azerbaijani officials in a meeting conferred on ways to further increase cooperation and reinvigorate relations between the two neighboring states amid the US sanctions against Tehran.
An Iranian parliamentary delegation headed by Qolamreza Tajgardoun met with Azerbaijani Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev in Baku on July 3.
During the meeting, they dealt with joint investment by the two countries' private and semi-state sectors.
Both sides also stressed the significance of launching Astara-Astara railway, and called for promoting volume of transportation and transit in the region.