Iran Instigates Persian Gulf – Black Sea Connectivity Infrastructure

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Iran has signed another agreement with governments in the South Caucasus and Central Asia to set up a transit route between the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea. The deal between Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran is one of several that the Iranian government has struck with governments in the region in the past few weeks, and is a clear attempt to build stronger economic links with its neighbours.

Last month, Iranian, Azerbaijani and Turkmen officials agreed a gas swap deal and this month, Iranian officials were talking up signing a customs deal with Armenia and also hosting Kyrgyz officials to improve bilateral relations.

The agreement to set up a transit route from the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea is an indication of how Iran is increasing the pace of its deal-making in the wake of continuing Western sanctions.

Javad Khedaati, Director General of Iran’s International Transit Department, has stated that plans have been made to establish the transit route. “After meetings with representatives of Georgia and Azerbaijan, we proposed to them the initiative of a new regional transport corridor that will connect the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf,” he said.

“Georgia and Azerbaijan need to make efforts to improve their infrastructure, so we intend to actively cooperate with both sides.” He said that pilot scheme to send cargo from the Persian Gulf up into Azerbaijan and then to one of Georgia’s Black Sea ports had already begun. Various international trade routes have opened up in the last few years, a response to increasing regional interconnectivity to China’s Belt and Road Initiative and other routes such as the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) thrgh t nda and Rssa.

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Chris Devonshire-Ellis is the Chairman of Dezan Shira & Associates. The firm assists British and Foreign Investment into Asia and has 28 offices throughout China, India, the ASEAN nations and Russia. For strategic and business intelligence concerning China’s Belt & Road Initiative please email silkroad@dezshira.com or visit us at www.dezshira.com

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