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Kazakhstan keen to boost transit role in Russia-Iran corridor

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
File photo shows Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi (R) in a meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev in Tehran on June 19, 2022.

Kazakhstan is keen to boost its role in the increasing cargo traffic through a transit corridor between Russia and Iran as the country seeks to benefit economically from a change in regional transportation arrangements that has been caused by US sanctions on Russia and Iran.

Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister Serik Zhumangarin said on Monday that his country had handled 80,000 tons of cargo through an eastern route of the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC) between Russia and Iran in the first nine months of this year.

Zhumangarin said the figure was an eightfold increase compared to the same period last year.

He announced the figures in a meeting with Russian officials in Almaty. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayevand Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended the meeting via video link.

Iran has seen a major increase in traffic via the INSTC as Russia has been shipping large volumes of goods to Asian countries via Iranian ports in the Persian Gulf since February when Moscow came under sanctions by US and allies because of the war in Ukraine.

Tehran and Moscow have sought to deepen their bilateral ties in recent months as they continue to coordinate their efforts to counter foreign sanctions. 

Zhumangarin called for reducing red tape and improving infrastructure to streamline cargo flows via Kazakhstan on the INSTC.

He said shipments from Russia to Iran can either travel via the Caspian Sea or move by railway to the east of it through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

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