Russia and Iran to expand rail ties as alliance strengthens
Putin attended the signing via video link while Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attended in person.
Russia and Iran have agreed to a deal to begin a rail construction project that will fill in a key gap in the railroad path from the Persian Gulf to St. Petersburg, a move that could prove a boon in Moscow's bid to cope with western sanctions.
The project, which will involve the construction of a 100-mile railway between two Iranian cities, will form a key component of a broader infrastructure system that aims to connect Russia, Iran, India, and Azerbaijan and present an alternative to the Suez Canal as a trade route, Reuters, reported.
"This is indeed a great event for the region, for the entire world transport infrastructure (and) for our countries," Russian President Vladimir Putin said, according to the Washington Times.
The project will take an estimated four years to complete, though Russian authorities believe the project could finish ahead of schedule. The completed stretch of railroad will be part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).
Putin attended the signing via video link while Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi attended in person. The transportation ministers of both countries signed the $1.6 billion deal.
Raisi hailed the railway project as a key advancement in the growing alliance between Moscow and Tehran as both nations seek to circumvent strict sanctions from western powers.
"Without a doubt, this agreement is an important and strategic step in the direction of cooperation between Tehran and Moscow," he said, per Reuters.
The two nations have increasingly tightened both economic military ties, with Iran supplying its Shahed drones to Russia for use in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on Twitter.