AN official ceremony took place in the northern Iranian province of Gilan on June 20, inaugurating 37km of new railway linking the provincial capital Rasht with the port of Bandar-e Anzali on the Caspian Sea.

The ceremony was attended by Iran's interim president, Mr Mohammad Mokhber. Other dignitaries in attendance included roads and urban development minister, Mr Mehrdad Bazrpash.

Work on the new line began in 2006. It is eventually to expected to carry 600,000 passengers and seven million tonnes of freight a year.

Completion of the project will help to improve connections between ports on the Persian Gulf in the south of Iran with those on the Caspian Sea to the north.

The Rasht - Bandar-e Anzali line also forms part of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) transit freight route connecting southern Asia with northern Europe.

The railway is expected to foster closer cooperation between Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), comprising Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, and between EAEU member states and Arab countries in western Asia.

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