The construction of a railroad connecting Armenia with Iran was first promised by Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan in an address to the National Assembly (parliament) in October 2008. Financing the construction, however, was a problematic issue: while Iranian officials confirmed the commitment to build a link connecting Iran’s existing railroad network to the Armenian border, a considerably larger investment would be required to carry out the construction on the Armenian side. The estimated cost of building the Armenian section of the railroad is about $3.2 billion, which does not include the costs of land acquisition and customs duties on equipment. The project’s entire cost is on a level comparable to Armenia’s annual budget. Clearly, the lack of financial resources, as well as, necessary political willpower, also can be seen as a reason behind the non-implementation of the project.
The situation was about to change in 2015 when China repeatedly expressed its interest in the financing of the construction of the Iran – Armenia railway. Currently, Yerevan seeks deeper economic cooperation with China in various fields. Therefore, Armenia actively discusses the possibility of Chinese sponsorship of the Iran – Armenia railway project. However, nearly all official statements of Chinese and Armenian officials regarding the future of the project remained on the paper. Continue reading