Tehran - Iran says India has voiced interest to join an ambitious project to establish a multimodal transit corridor that starts in a key southern Iranian port and passes through several Central Asian states before reaching Europe through sea. The announcement was made by Davoud Keshavarzian, Iran’s deputy minister of roads and urban development and the director of the country’s Roads Maintenance and Transportation Organization.
Keshavarzian added that Georgia – a key state that would host the planned Iran-Europe corridor – had also called for expediting efforts to get the project off the ground. The official was speaking in a meeting with Rosalia Dimitrova, the visiting director of Bulgaria’s National Customs Agency, IRNA reported. He further added that the draft on the agreement for the establishment of the corridor had been prepared and submitted to member states. Keshavarzian emphasized that member states of the corridor will soon hold an expert-level meeting to discuss the technicalities of the project. This will be followed by a ministerial meeting in which the final agreement for the project will be signed, he added. The corridor would start in Iran’s Bandar Abbas port and would go through Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia. In Georgia, it will lead to the country’s Batumi and Poti ports from where goods thus transited will be shipped to the ports in Bulgaria and Romania and thereon to the rest of Europe. Iran is also at the heart of another projected combined transit corridor named the North-South Transit Corridor (NTSC) that has been initiated by Russia. The NTSC is already seen as a rival to the Suez Canal from the viewpoint of the link that it would provide between northern Europe and Southern Asia. It will start from Russia’s St Petersburg and will go through Azerbaijan as well as Iran before reaching Bandar Abbas and eventually India’s Mumbai by sea.