YEREVAN, March 31. / ARKA /. Armenia's upcoming membership in the Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus would facilitate the construction of a railway from Armenia to Iran, according to Tatyana Valovaya, a senior member of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), who spoke last Saturday at a conference in Yerevan organized by the governing Republican Party of Armenia to look into opportunities and challenges of Armenia’s accession to the Russia-led trade bloc.
"I think that Armenia's accession to the Customs Union, enhancement of normal economic relations with Iran will make the planned Armenia-Iran railway more economically feasible,” she said.
Asked who would finance its implementation she said when a project becomes economically feasible, funding could come from the government and private businesses. The best option is when there is public-private partnership, she added.
She stressed that the most important thing for anyone who will calculate the cost of this project will be its economic feasibility.
Earlier the chief executive officer of the Russian-owned South Caucasian Railway, which runs Armenia’s rail roads, Victor Rebets, said that the construction of Iran – Armenia railway may start in the middle of 2015.
According to a feasibility study, made by the Dubai-based Rasia FZE Investment Company, granted by the Armenian government in 2012 a 50-year concession to build and manage the 305-kilometer railway from Armenia to Iran, it may cost as much as $.3.2 billion ‘because of mountainous terrain through which it is supposed to pass.’
Specifically, it will have 19.6 km-long 64 bridges and 60 tunnels of 102.3 kilometres. The railway is to run from Gagarin station in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province to Agarak in southern Syunik and may transport up to 25 million cargos a year.
According to an Armenian government statement, the railway will create the shortest transportation route from the ports of the Black Sea to the ports of the Persian Gulf and establish a major commodities transit corridor between Europe and the Persian Gulf region.” .-0-