Mon Aug 5, 2013 6:5AM
Iran’s President Hassan Rohani (R) and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, August 4, Tehran, Iran

Iran’s President Hassan Rohani (R) and his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, August 4, Tehran, Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has called for the completion of a railway project linking Iran with the Central Asian countries of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. In a meeting with his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow on Sunday, Rohani said the completion of the project will enhance Tehran-Ashgabat relations. In 2007, the three countries signed an agreement to construct the North-South Transnational Corridor. The rout will link Uzen in Kazakhstan with Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek in Turkmenistan and end at Gorgan in the Iranian province of Golestan. Then it will be connected to Iran’s national rail network, making its way to the Persian Gulf ports. The 900-kilometer railroad will facilitate the transportation of goods from Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, and will also link Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to Iran. Once completed, three to five million tons of cargo will be transported through the route annually. The figure could reach to as high as 12 million tons. In May, Iran officially inaugurated the segment of the railroad connecting Gorgan to the town of Incheh Borun along the border with Turkmenistan. Berdimuhamedow, for his part, hailed Rohani’s views with regards to strengthening bilateral and multilateral regional relations, and said his country will always support Iran’s stances in international scene. Berdimuhamedow also called for expansion of economic, political and cultural relations between Iran and Turkmenistan. The Turkmen president arrived in Iran’s capital, Tehran, to attend Rohani’s swearing-in ceremony on Sunday. Iranian lawmakers and senior officials as well as foreign dignitaries attended the inauguration event in Tehran on Sunday. Rohani, whose four-year tenure officially started on Sunday, took over from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Rohani won Iran’s June 14 presidential election with 50.7 percent of a total of over 36 million ballots. Voter turnout in the election was 72.7 percent. MYA/NN/HMV
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