Ancient ‘Silk Road’ back to business as first train arrives in Iran from China

Iranian officials applaud on the platform as the first train connecting China and Iran arrives at Tehran Railway Station on February 15, 2016. ©AFP

The first train to connect China and Iran has arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran to revive the ancient Silk Road.

Iranian officials say it took two weeks for a 32-container train to get to Tehran from eastern China. The cargo went through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to make the 9,500-kilometer journey.

Authorities say the train will run once each month and the frequency will be increased if necessary. The train is run by private companies using the existing routes. 

A picture taken on February 15, 2016 shows a container on the first train connecting China and Iran upon its arrival at Tehran Railway Station. ©AFP

“Countries along the Silk Road are striving to revive the ancient network of trade routes,” said Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei, president of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways company, according to Iran’s Mehr news agency.

“The arrival in Tehran of the train in less than a fortnight has been an unprecedented achievement.”

The Old Silk Road

Iran is strategically located in the Middle East, sharing land borders with 15 nations and sea channels on its northern and southwestern coasts.

China sees Iran as a country that can play a crucial role in China’s New Silk Road initiative, given its access to extensive delivery routes connecting to the Middle East and Eurasia.

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