2 Nov 2017 18:37

Construction of railroad from Iran to Armenia not goal in itself - Armenian PM

YEREVAN. Nov 2 (Interfax) - The implementation of the Iran-Armenia railroad project's construction will depend on the volume of services and prices for these services, Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan said.

"Whether or not a railroad will be built depends on calculations and on the prices for these services and on the range of services to be provided. One needs to weigh everything," Karapetyan said at a press conference on Thursday.

The construction of a railroad from Iran to Armenia "is not a goal in itself," he said.

"If indicators of cooperation with Iran appear, we will discuss whether it will be a railroad or another road," Karapetyan said.

In February 2016, Armenia and Iran signed a memorandum on mutual understanding planning the construction of a direct railroad line between Jolfa (Iran) and Eraskh (Armenia). The talks on building the railroad between the two countries have already been ongoing for several years.

In April 2009, Armenia and Iran signed a memorandum planning to set up direct rail communications between the two countries. The project is estimated to cost $1.5 billion. The railroad will make it possible for Armenia to obtain access to the Persian Gulf via Iran and to Central Asian markets.

Turkey and Azerbaijan are currently blocking rail links between Armenia and other countries. There is also no direct rail communication with Russia, as trains from Armenia travel only to Georgia, and cargo is further transported by ferryboat or vehicles.