Construction on much delayed 32km Iran–Iraq railway due to begin “after Ramadan”

An aerial view of the Iran Iraq border near Basra (John Wollwerth/Dreamstime)
Officials from Iran and Iraq have reached an agreement to begin work on a 32km railway between the two countries after the end of Ramadan, without giving an exact start date.

According to the Mehr News Agency, Razak Muhibis Al-Saadawi, Iraq’s transport minister, and Mehrdad Bazrpash, Iran’s minister for roads and urban development, met in Tehran to discuss the planned link between the Iranian town of Shalamcheh and Iraqi city of Basra.

The project has been planned for 20 years, with talks taking place over 2022 and 2021.

Iran Front Page reports that the project is expected to take 18 months to complete. Iran will clear mines left over from the 1980-88 war and build a 1km-long vertical-lift bridge over the Shatt al-Arab. Iraq will lay the track and build the stations.

An agreement for the development was signed on 26 December 2021, but progress has been delayed by land acquisition in Iraq and the construction of the bridge.

In 2021, the Tehran Times reported that, on the Iranian side, the link would connect with a 17km railroad between Khorramshahr and Shalamcheh, which was built in 2011.

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