Iran signs transit co-op agreement with five central Asian nations

The Cradle, October 10, 2022 — The agreement aims to facilitate the transport of some 20 million tons of commodities each year.

Iran and five Central Asian countries signed an agreement on 9 October during a two-day summit on transit cooperation.

The agreement was signed by Iran’s Transport and Urban Development Minister Rostam Qasemi and his counterparts from Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan, who have all agreed to hold a semi-annual summit every six months.

Following the signing of the agreement, Qasemi disclosed to the press that the central Asian delegates have reached a mutual understanding on the progression of transit cooperation, the unification of transit tariffs, and the distribution of one-year visas for transit drivers under the framework of the said document.

According to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Mehdi Safari, Tehran seeks to achieve the objective of establishing a transit route that would facilitate the transport of 20 million tons of commodities between the signatories on an annual basis.

He added that Iran would guarantee trade transit routes to its landlocked neighbors in order to achieve its goals, as well as to create a management system to improve routes via rail, sea, and air. Safari also announced that the subject matter would be further elaborated on during an international conference.

Countries like Russia and Azerbaijan, are also ready to join the cooperation initiative. Iran is already in control of a 7,200-kilometer-long network of ship, rail, and road routes to move freight between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe.

Back in June, the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedow arrived in Tehran where he met with both Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei. The two countries signed nine documents and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) as a result of the meetings.

The documents establish clear channels for bilateral cooperation in the areas of trade, economics, science, culture, media/news, investments, transit/transportation, energy, and the protection of the environment.

“The expansion of friendly relations between Iran and Turkmenistan has opponents at regional and international levels, but obstacles must be overcome. The requisite to overcoming obstacles is the firm intention and determination of Iran and Turkmenistan to expand relations,” Khamenei stated.

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