Thursday 02 April 2020
News ID: 76582
Publish Date: 25 February 2020 - 22:04
President Rouhani Hails Feat Amid Sanctions
TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iran on Tuesday opened a section of a 121-km freeway linking its capital to Mazandaran province on the Caspian Sea, a feat which has challenged the country’s financial resources and technical capacity for decades.
The Tehran-Shomal Freeway, straddling some of the roughest terrains in the region, is built in four sections, one of which was opened by President Hassan Rouhani, Press TV reported.
"We built the section during the time of sanctions, and we are proud that the sanctions did not affect the will of our engineers, workers and managers to complete this important project,” he said during an inaugural ceremony.
Chinese and South Korean companies withdrew from the project after the United States announced sanctions on Iran in May 2018.
A consortium of Iranian companies led by Mostazafan Foundation built the first section, a 32 km challenging stretch which plows through a mountainous terrain. It cost more than 40,000 billion rials equaling 100,000 billion rials at current prices or close to $1 billion, Rouhani said.   
"It is obvious what an enormous and great work has been done in this 32 km section. It has 18 tunnels, one of which is about five kilometers,” Rouhani said.
The freeway is characterized by deep-cut tunnels and imposing bridges perched above massive cement pillars that tower over picturesque canyons.
The fourth section of the freeway was opened in March 2013. It is 20 km long and has four tunnels at an overall length of 1,400 meters.
The remaining two sections require the construction of the biggest number of tunnels and bridges.
Section two has a total length of 25 km, including 20 tunnels with an overall length of 24.2 km. Its construction is under way and projected to finish in 2021.
Section 3 is to be built at a length of 46 km. It will have 92 tunnels stretching for 33.5 km.
President Rouhani separately said "the enemies” are planning to shut down Iran by creating fears about a novel coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking at the National Headquarters for Disease Control, Rouhani said: "This is a conspiracy by the enemies.” 

* Comment: