“We built the section during the time of sanctions, and we are proud that the sanctions did not affect the will of our engineers, workers and managers to complete this important project,” Rouhani told an inaugural ceremony.
The Tehran-Shomal Freeway, straddling some of the roughest terrains in the region, is built in four sections.
Chinese and South Korean companies withdrew from the project after the United States reinstated sanctions on Iran in May 2018.
A consortium of Iranian companies led by Mostazafan Foundation built the first section, a 32-kilometer challenging stretch which plows through a mountainous terrain. It cost more than 40,000 billion rials equaling 100,000 billion rials at current prices or close to $1 billion, Rouhani said.
“It is obvious what an enormous and great work has been done in this 32-kilometer section. It has 18 tunnels, one of which is about five kilometers,” the president said.
He said the Iranian people did not “bend” under the pressure of US sanctions.
“We will not beg the enemies… Our nation will not surrender and will endure hardship to make the enemy regret,” Rouhani said without mentioning the US.
The freeway is characterized by deep-cut tunnels and imposing bridges perched above massive cement pillars that tower above picturesque canyons. The inauguration is a feat which has challenged the country’s financial resources and technical capacity for decades.
The fourth section of the freeway was opened in March 2013. It is 20 kilometers long and has four tunnels at an overall length of 1,400 meters.
The remaining two sections require the construction of the biggest number of tunnels and bridges.
Section two has a total length of 25 kilometers, including 20 tunnels with an overall length of 24.2 kilometers. Its construction is underway and projected to finish in 2021.
Section 3 is to be built at a length of 46 kilometers. It will have 92 tunnels stretching for 33.5 kilometers.
Press TV contributed to this story.