Putin’s aide in N Iran amid talks to finalize rail project

TEHRAN, Jan. 18 (MNA) – Russia’s State Council Secretary Igor Levitin has visited a railway project in northern Iran amid talks between the two countries to secure the funding needed to complete the key North-South transportation link.

Images published in local media on Wednesday showed Levitin, who is a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, while conducting an aerial inspection of the Rasht-Astara rail project along the Caspian Sea coast.

The top Iranian government official in Gilan province and officials from Iran’s ministry of transportation were accompanying Levitin in the visit which came amid final stages of talks between Iran and Russia to secure the massive funding needed to finish the 152-kilometer railway line.

Once finished, the Rasht-Astara railway will reduce the time needed to transport cargo from Helsinki in Finland via Russia to Iran’s southern ports on the Persian Gulf and on the Sea of Oman by 20 days.

Iran is seeking Russia’s financial support for the project which is estimated to cost 800 million euros, according to latest estimates by the Iranian government.

The project could also lead to a major increase in cargo transportation from Russia to the Indian Ocean, Press TV reported.

Iranian deputy transportation minister Kheirollah Khademi said that Iran and Russia will hold a final meeting after Levitin’s visit to the project to see whether they could work out a comprehensive financing arrangement for the project.

Levitin's visit to the ralway project came a day after held meetings with senior Iranian government officials in Tehran.

MNA/PR

News Code 196345

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