0420 GMT October 04, 2022
President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday Iran is capable of meeting energy demands of regional countries and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states.
“As one of the most important conduits of energy, a regional arterial route that possesses rich energy resources with access to two important waterways, and thanks to its geopolitical position, Iran can supply needs of most regional countries, including SCO member states,” Rouhani said while delivering a speech in Tehran to the 20th meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO via a videoconference.
Rouhani said Iran’s geographical location presents “a crucial and stable opportunity” for friendly regional member countries “to develop their extra-continental communications” and free themselves of “geopolitical constraints”.
He said “massive transit potential” will be unleashed in the near future once a railroad that connects cities of Rasht, Bandar Anzali and Astara in northwestern Iran is completed.
The president said the project will “create an integrated railroad system that extends from the Persian Gulf to Russia and Northern Europe” and will satisfy an importance international need.
Rouhani also pointed to the Khaf-Herat railroad that links Iran’s northeast to eastern Afghanistan, saying the project will be inaugurated within the coming weeks.
“This railroad would be a gift and a veritable asset for Afghanistan’s bid to break its deadlock,” he said, adding that extending the Khaf-Herat railroad would help Central Asian countries have easier and less expensive access to international waters and Europe and would make the Middle East and Iran’s markets available to them.
Rouhani also called for SCO member states’ coordination with the United Nations and the World Health Organization to adopt a coherent and unified approach to counter the shared challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said Iran provided some regional countries with humanitarian aid to fight the novel coronavirus and is ready to share its experiences with SCO members in combating the disease.
The SCO is an intergovernmental organization founded for multilateral, political, economic and security cooperation.
China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India are its main members, and Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Belarus are observers.