Three large-scale infrastructure projects for Russia and Iran

A special military operation launched on February 24, 2022 in Ukraine has led to an extraordinary rapprochement between Russia and Iran. Tehran turned out to be one of the few who dared to lend a shoulder to Moscow. In the context of Western sanctions and difficult relations with Turkey, in the future, it is Iran that can become a leading business partner for our country.

Due to its geographical location, the Islamic Republic is now of exceptional importance for the implementation of infrastructure projects that bypass anti-Russian states. Right off the bat, at least three promising areas can be named.

ITC "North - South"

The idea of ​​the international transport corridor "North - South" arose a very long time ago, in the late 90s of the last century. In accordance with it, a single route should appear, along which it would be possible to deliver containerized cargo from India to the Baltic region, bypassing the Suez Canal. Transit countries, respectively, were to be Iran and Russia.

In total, three directions are possible within the framework of the project - Trans-Caspian, Eastern and Western. The first involves the use of Iranian and Russian roads and a ferry across the Caspian Sea. The eastern route can connect the Russian Federation and Iran with a railway network along the eastern coast of the Caspian Sea through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. In the western direction, cargo traffic from India will be able to go along the western coast of the Caspian Sea through Azerbaijan or even Armenia. In any case, the entry point of the North-South corridor will be on the coast of the Persian Gulf, where dry cargo ships from India should arrive, and the exit point will be in Russian ports in the Baltic.

As far as one can understand from open sources, Moscow, Tehran and New Delhi are currently interested in the Trans-Caspian route, apparently in order not to become too dependent on numerous transit countries.
The most interesting thing is that this infrastructure project is now being promoted most actively not even by Russia or Iran, but by India. The English-language channel Press TV, based in Iran, comments on New Delhi's motives as follows:

To gain access to resource-rich Central Asia, India must route its goods through China, Europe or Iran. Routes through China and Europe are long, expensive and labor intensive, with Iran being the most viable.

At the same time, it is tactfully left out of the brackets that China and India are in difficult relations, being regional potential adversaries, and both of these countries are promoting their infrastructure projects through the Islamic Republic, which is clearly only welcome in Tehran. The development of the Trans-Caspian route will also allow Russia to enter the markets of Southeast Asia through Iran, bypassing the Central Asian republics and China.

Railway to Syria

Another promising infrastructure project being promoted by Tehran is a railroad designed to connect the Islamic Republic to the Mediterranean coast. To do this, Iran, Iraq and Syria should be connected to a single transport network with access to the port of Latakia. This railway can be subsequently extended to China.

Tehran is extremely interested in entering the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, where the Israelis feel at ease so far. The port of Latakia has been leased to Iran since 2019, and a real Iranian naval base may well appear on its territory. Russia's interest in this route lies in the fact that the Russian Ministry of Defense will then get a real opportunity to supply our military group in Syria through the Caspian Sea, Iran and Iraq by rail, bypassing Turkey and its straits, which can be blocked in the event of a sharp aggravation of relations between Moscow and Ankara .

Channel Caspian - Persian Gulf

This is the oldest infrastructure project between Russia and Iran, which was discussed in all seriousness under Peter I. Even then it was clear that the critical dependence on the Turkish Bosphorus and Dardanelles would not lead to anything good. Two main options for laying a navigable canal were considered - with access to the Persian Gulf with a length of about 650 kilometers and to the Gulf of Oman - almost 1000 kilometers.

The joint Russian-Iranian commission for the construction of the canal began work in 1904, but then the parties could not agree on the terms. Russia insisted on the principle of extraterritoriality of the shipping channel, while Iran insisted on the creation of a condominium. Subsequently, the issue of connecting the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf was raised at the negotiations of I.V. Stalin with M.R. Pahlavi in ​​Tehran in 1943. However, in the 50s, the Iranian leadership began to pursue a more "multi-vector" policiesand the project failed again. The Americans began to actively buy Iranian oil, and Turkey began to dump, reducing tariffs for the transit of Soviet goods through its straits.

"Western partners" did everything to break the mutually beneficial cooperation between our countries, and they did it very well. In 1998, a joint expert group was again established on the project of a navigable canal through Iran, but its implementation was suspended due to the introduction against the Islamic Republic economic sanctions. In 2016, Moscow and Tehran again returned to the negotiating table after Russian-Turkish relations deteriorated markedly against the backdrop of the war in Syria.

Is it possible to implement such a project today?

The beginning of Russia's proxy war with the entire NATO bloc on the territory of Ukraine and the increased risks from Turkey make such bypass transport corridors very relevant. However, construction involves many technical complexities and environmental risks, and will also cost a pretty penny. In addition, it should be taken into account that, having unexpectedly acquired a sea gate from the Caspian Sea to the Indian Ocean, Kazakhstan and its other Central Asian neighbors will no longer be critically dependent on Russia as a transit country. All these and other risks should be considered when participating in such ambitious infrastructure projects.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. Afinogen Offline Afinogen
    Afinogen (Afinogen) 5 January 2023 16: 10
    Channel Caspian - Persian Gulf

    Which channel??? You look at the map. The entire southern coast of the Caspian Sea is full of mountains.
  2. The comment was deleted.
  3. Colonel Kudasov Offline Colonel Kudasov
    Colonel Kudasov (Leopold) 5 January 2023 18: 05
    The railway from the Caspian ports of Iran to the Persian Gulf is quite enough. It's up to the Persians. And as I understand it, they want someone to build it for them
    1. Vladimir Tuzakov (Vladimir Tuzakov) 5 January 2023 19: 22
      The topic has been discussed many times, and it can be repeated. Railway The route of containers, with transshipment to ferries across the Caspian, is already in operation. An overload is necessary, because in Iran the European gauge is 1430 mm. Further arrangement of the infrastructure of the route is a matter of time. Further, work is underway on a direct railway route through Azerbaijan. The Caspian canal the Persian Gulf is not feasible at all - the mountains and the canal are needed for heavy ships, otherwise nothing, and this is a width of more than 200 m and a depth of 10 m. astronomical amounts.
  4. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) 5 January 2023 19: 16
    How many of these "corridors" have not been described in the last 2 years, but for now, zilch.
    The more countries and links along the way, the greater the risks and corruption.
  5. Vladimir1155 Offline Vladimir1155
    Vladimir1155 (Vladimir) 5 January 2023 19: 58
    the channel must be made for river vessels, that is, 4 meters deep and 13 meters wide, then the river-sea vessels will sail along the route of the Persian Gulf St. Petersburg or the White and Azov Seas, a depth of 10 meters cannot be found in Astrakhan, the Caspian Sea is shallow. ... there is not enough rainfall, where to get water for the canal?
  6. unc-2 Online unc-2
    unc-2 (Nikolai Malyugin) 6 January 2023 08: 57
    That's when we set the task that a significant part of the exports work for us, access to the future will be opened. In the meantime, vanity of vanities.
  7. orange Offline orange
    orange (ororpore) 7 January 2023 12: 49
    Central Asia is already snapping at Russia, ready to stab a knife in the back on occasion, and with the advent of the canal, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, having received direct access to the World Ocean, will completely lose their fear.
  8. usm5 Offline usm5
    usm5 (George) 15 January 2023 00: 13
    And how do you like the idea of ​​transporting goods from Russia to India through the territory of Iran on helium airships (a cylinder with a diameter of 25 m and a length of 200 m) with a carrying capacity of 100 tons at a speed of 100-120 km per hour? Minimum costs - 1 kg of cargo will cost 5-7 rubles. And there is no need to build any canals and railways. The airship is equipped with compressors that pump helium at a pressure of 500 atm into ballast tanks. if it needs to descend or fills the shell of tanks, if the airship needs to rise.
    It should be ten metal-Kevlavr tanks with a length of 20 m and a diameter of 0,6 m. The shell should also consist of 20 independent gandol sections. Well, is such an aircraft really a big problem for a space power? Yes, with such an amount of helium produced, we should have a whole fleet of such aircraft. And such a fleet does not require any railways and canals.
  9. vlad127490 Offline vlad127490
    vlad127490 (Vlad Gor) 15 January 2023 14: 07
    It is impossible to build a canal between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. Now on the shores of the Caspian Sea, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan are potential enemies of the Russian Federation. The channel was relevant in the Soviet Union and will be relevant if there is only one Russia and Iran on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The railroad is enough now.
  10. The comment was deleted.