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Iran may use Chinese contractors to finish major freeway project

A worker is seen on a construction site for Tehran-Shomal Freeway project near the capital Tehran.

The Iranian transportation ministry has started talks with Chinese contractors as it seeks to attract large finances needed to complete a major road project connecting the capital Tehran to areas on the Caspian Sea in the north.

Kheirollah Khademi, an Iranian deputy transportation minister said on Wednesday that Chinese companies may get involved in the construction of the third section of Tehran-North Freeway, according to a report by the semi-official ILNA news agency. 

Khademi said the Chinese investors could provide “the very large finances” needed to finish the road which passes through hard-rich regions in Alborz Mountains.  

“We have entered talks with five Chinese companies and negotiations with one of them are very serious now,” he said, adding that the transportation ministry had started a new round of “intensive talks” with the unidentified Chinese company.

Iran has already finished two outer sections of the Tehran-North Freeway while works are nearly ending on one side of the road in section two where Iranian contractors have built some of the longest road tunnels in Iran.

The government and state companies have spent billions of dollars on the mega project over the past decades.

Companies from China and South Korea had previously been contracted for construction of section three, the longest and most difficult part of the road which spans 47 kilometers through the mountains and valleys located between Tehran and the northern province of Mazandaran.

However, foreign companies abandoned the project after the United States imposed sanctions on Iran in 2018 after pulling out of an international agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program.

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