TODAY.AZ / Business

North-South, like the Silk Road project, can be called successful one to connect two continents

19 June 2023 [16:45] - TODAY.AZ
By Azernews 

Rena Murshud

The cold relations between Iran and Azerbaijan after the diplomatic tension have affected many projects in the region. It should be recalled that a year ago, Iran was making plans for the International "North-South" transport corridor to pass through Armenia based on the intergovernmental agreement signed between Russia, Iran and India on September 12, 2000. But time obliged some forces to retreat on their decision and drew a line across their sketch plan. We are talking about the recent statement made by Iran's Road and Urban Development Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash to the foreign media. According to the Iranian minister, the coldness in relations between Iran and Azerbaijan will not affect the construction and completion of this project. The interesting fact is that Iran, which has not yet settled diplomatic relations, currently sees Azerbaijan as an important partner in opening the corridor.

According to the political analyst Sadreddin Soltan, who commented on the issue for Azernews, Iran has always accepted Azerbaijan as an inseparable partner in the opening of the corridor. This is just a means of threat that official Tehran used Armenia against the backdrop of tensions between Iran and Azerbaijan.

"First of all, let me note that the International North-South transport corridor is not limited only between Iran and Azerbaijan. This line is a transport route that passes through India, Pakistan, Iran and several countries and extends to the Baltic Sea. I should add that recently between Iran and Russia An agreement was signed on the construction of the 160 km Rasht-Astara railway line. Russia has invested about 1.3 billion dollars. Azerbaijan has also spent some funds on the construction of this line. In short, this line is considered a strategic and international project. Although Iran was eager for this line to pass through the territory of Armenia, the international community saw the importance of this project related to Azerbaijan from the very first sight. Because if this line passes through the territory of Armenia and Georgia, there is a risk of facing the problem of Ukraine and the Black Sea."

The expert spoke about the importance of this project for Iran, including Iran's interests in the International North-South corridor passing through the country.

"Iran is promoting the International North-South transport line in order to increase its reputation in the international world, gain trust, and attract investment to its country. It is known that the economy of a state through whose territory a large-scale project is passing is considered stable and low-risk, and it is also considered a favorable place for investment," S.Soltan said.

In addition, the political analyst, who said that Russia and Iran do not see a reliable alternative in this project except Azerbaijan, clarified the issue as follows: "The shortest, safest and dry road connecting Russia and Iran passes through Azerbaijan. Therefore, neither Russia nor Iran have an alternative way other than through Azerbaijan. Also, since Azerbaijan has passed large-scale international projects such as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line, TANAP, TAP, Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, as well as hydrocarbon projects, our country already has the opportunity and experience to ensure the safety of this line. In the meantime, since there is very low risk in the territory of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia prefer this line to pass through our country. Besides, as Azerbaijan also invests in this type of projects, the financial burden of the projects is reduced," the political analyst emphasized.

In conclusion, the expert talked about the effects of this project on the realization of the Zangazur corridor. According to him, this project is not an obstacle to the Zangazur corridor, but on the contrary, it makes it more relevant and strengthens it.

"Routes, materials and cargo from Zangazur can be returned through this line. For example, when going in the direction of India, the cargo can be unloaded in Baku and returned again.

The passage of the North-South line through the Zangazur Corridor can lead to the strengthening of the road infrastructure and becoming even more important. Cargo from Southern Europe can pass through Zangazur and move in this direction. That is, these lines are not contradictory to each other, on the contrary, they can stimulate traffic as an alternative means.

Moreover, these projects are not counted for several days. Because the world will not remain in this state forever. For example, the current regime in Iran, as well as the Russia-Ukraine war, are not permanent. For this reason, the project in question will be one of the means to connect Europe with Asia, as well as with Central Asia. This project has perspective and logistical importance. Finally, this North-South project, like the Silk Road project, can be called a successful project to connect two continents.


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