0152 GMT May 09, 2021
Khaf-Herat railway links eastern Iran to western Afghanistan.
Afghanistan's banking problems pertaining to goods transit from Iran's southeastern port of Chabahar have been resolved, Nisar Ahmad Faizi Ghoryani said in an exclusive interview with IRNA on Wednesday on the sidelines of the eighth meeting of Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) in Islamabad.
He said the difficulty in receiving money for to Afghanistan’s exports to China and India through the port of Chabahar had caused a number of problems that had slowed his country’s transit activities, noting that the issue has been resolved.
Faizi Ghoryani, who received a vote of confidence from the Afghan parliament as the minister of industry and trade last November, added, Afghanistan discussed the banking issue with the American parties.
“The port of Chabahar is exempted from Washington's sanctions. That is why the banking issue has been discussed with the United States several times. We have managed to receive a full guarantee that the sanctions on the port will be lifted,” said the minister.
He added, "The banking problem in Chabahar will be solved in the next few days and there will be no more obstacles to or reasons for harming Afghanistan's transit and trade through this important Iranian port."
Faizi Ghoryani described Chabahar as a strategic port and an easy route to ensure the interests of Afghanistan and the region and added in view of the recent remarks by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the development of the railway between the two countries, “we hope that the Khaf-Herat railway would be connected to the Chabahar-Zahedan railroad”.
Appreciating the friendly and brotherly country of Iran for its constant supports for the people of Afghanistan, he said, "Launching the Khaf-Herat train is a great commercial initiative that was welcomed by the two countries’ high-ranking officials and people."
The minister added Khaf-Herat railway is a great project that connects Afghanistan to Europe through the Islamic Republic of Iran, expressing hope that the other phases of the project would be completed soon.
Faizi Ghoryani invited Iranian investors to participate in Afghanistan’s industrial projects, saying in return, the Afghan government will provide them with the needed facilities.
He put Afghanistan’s annual imports at $ 7 billion, saying his country can expand cooperation with Iranian investors to meet the needs of its industrial sector domestically.
The minister stressed that neighboring countries, particularly Iran, have a special share in Afghanistan’s investment projects.
“Iran and Afghanistan have many cultural commonalities and can use this opportunity to increase interactions between their business and economic sectors.”
Afghanistan can use Iran's advanced capabilities, especially in the field of technology, to reconstruct the country.
The joint railway project was inaugurated a few weeks ago, with the presidents of the two neighboring countries delivering remarks through a videoconference and expressing hope the project would enhance trade links across the region, according to Press TV.
Iranian president said that the two nations have always had a close relationship and that the Khaf-Herat railway project will further strengthen this bond.
“Today is the day of compassion, mercy and also the day of breakthrough for the two great nations of Iran and Afghanistan. The two nations are from the same root, history, culture and from the same region. They have maintained their brotherhood and neighborliness in the long run of history.”
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani welcomed the “historic” project, hailing it as a step toward further development of the two nations’ economies.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif described the project as a boost to regional trade and popular exchanges.
“The Khaf-Herat railway’s significance is not only for Iran & Afghanistan, but for the greater region. As a gateway that’ll boost trade and people-to-people exchanges, it will also contribute to regional stability & development. Turning our frontiers into bridges is a priority,” the chief diplomat tweeted ahead of the inauguration of the project.
The 225-kilometer railroad project includes four phases that are currently under construction. About 78 kilometers of the project, which includes two phases, is on Iran’s soil and the rest in Afghanistan.
The construction of Khaf-Herat railroad, which is part of the Iran-Afghanistan rail corridor, started in the fiscal year of 2007-2008.