Central Asian countries in talks over corridor to reach Europe via Iran
The Russia-Ukraine war has led to a new Silk Road corridor emerging, connecting China and Central Asia to Europe through Iran, Ecoiran reported on October 15.
Around two years into the war, access to the primary Silk Road corridor, which traditionally connected China to Europe through Kazakhstan and Russia, has faced an array of challenges. In response, a new corridor was established, offering China and Central Asia an alternative route to access Europe through the Azerbaijan-Turkey pathway. This development, however, initially sidelined Iran from the traditional Silk Road.
Recent developments show an agreement is in the making among Central Asian countries that aims to redefine transit routes en route Europe.
Uzbekistan, a key player in the project, has announced that nations in Central Asia are actively engaged in talks to create a new transportation and transit corridor, which is designed to facilitate the flow of goods between China and European Union countries, by passing through Iranian.
Negotiations, facilitated by Uzbekistan, have brought together representatives of transport and railway agencies from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Turkey.
Ali Hosseini, former head of the Transportation Commission of the Iran Chamber of Commerce, says this new route essentially represents the second branch of the historic Silk Road, which, despite its significance, had received less attention due to the prominence of the primary route.
However, regional geopolitical developments, particularly the challenges of using the traditional route through Ukraine and Russia, have thrust the secondary corridor into the limelight.
Infrastructure for the new Silk Road corridor is ready in Iran, according to the expert, who says both the Sarakhs Road in the northeast, on the border with Turkmenistan, and the Razi border in the northwest, on the border with Turkey, are prepared to facilitate the launch of this corridor.
Preliminary test runs for the passage of freight wagons along this route have been completed successfully, indicating that this new corridor can become operational in a relatively short period, he noted.
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