Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on May 13th that the railway network project that would link Shalacheh in Iran with the Mediterranean is a very important project.
He added during a video conference that “The region will witness great changes through the agreement that was signed with Iraq regarding the connection of the railway network between Shalamcheh and Basra. These two cities are located in a very important strategic area”.
He explained that this railway network will provide the basis for connecting Iran with the Mediterranean, which is of great importance. The Iranian government is carefully following up this project on the political and operational levels and it will be completed in the coming years.
In April 2018, the Syrian Minister of Transport Ali Hammoud said about the railway project that “The Syrian part of the railway project includes building 32 kilometers of railway, while Iraq would build the rest, which will stretch deep into Iraq to connect Baghdad and Karbala and Karbala to Syria. This will facilitate the movement of individuals and goods between Iran, Iraq, and Syria.” “The railway is a part of a project linked with the Central Asian networks that extend towards the Chinese and Russian railways,” he continued, referring to Syria’s renewed role in the new Silk Road (China’s Belt and Road initiative).
In April 2019, Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri had announced his country’s determination to build roads and railways to link his country to Syria and the Mediterranean region, saying that building the Shalamcheh-Basra railway was one of the agreements made during the visit by an Iraqi delegation to Iran that year. “We will connect the Persian Gulf from Iraq to Syria and the Mediterranean via railway and road,” Jahangiri said.
According to some sources, the Shalamcheh-Basra railway project was said to cost 2.22 billion rials and once implemented will link the Iranian railway to Syria through Iraq. As Iran has been struggling economically there was no new development about the project until Rouhani’s statement about it last week.
Sources have revealed that establishing a railway link from Iran to the Mediterranean falls under the recently signed MoU between Iran and China.