TEHRAN (Dispatches) - Iranian Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian in a meeting with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Affairs Deborah Lyons in Tehran, underlined that promotion of economic cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan plays an important role in achieving sustainable development and regional security.
Ardakanian in the meeting highlighted Iran’s rich professional and economic capacities to contribute to the scientific, industrial and economic improvement of Afghanistan.
Iranian minister stressed the need to increase cooperation between the two countries in the fields of energy, customs, economy and other fields related to this commission.
Lyons, for her part, referred to the most important areas of economic cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan and the role of the United Nations Assistant Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) in facilitating this cooperation.
She also voiced the readiness of UNAMA for promoting mutual cooperation.
Khaf-Herat Railway to Boost Trade Exchanges
And also on Monday, Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami said that it is predicted that three million tons of products would be imported to and exported from the country annually if Khaf-Herat Railway to Afghanistan’s Mazar-i-Sharif is connected.
Eslami added, "Once Khaf-Herat railway is connected, the objective of transit of 1.8 million tons of goods would be realized.”
It is scheduled that Khaf-Herat Railway would be inaugurated in late November, the roads minister added.
He pointed to the key and important role of this railway project in the increasing volume of trade exchanges and transit volume of the country as well as the expansion of economic relations between Iran and Afghanistan and added, "Rail connection of the Islamic Republic of Iran to neighboring countries and its development from all possible routes has always been emphasized to increase the share of transit by rail.”
By implementing this giant project, which is supported and invested by the Islamic Republic of Iran, suitable ways will be provided for the country to transit cargo and passenger to Afghanistan and also to other destinations including neighboring and European countries such as Turkey and the Indian Ocean, he said, adding, ‘Under such circumstances, a new transit route will be activated for the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Elsewhere in his remarks, Eslami pointed to the high potential of this railway for transporting mining and mineral products on the border between Iran and Afghanistan and added, "It is predicted that about three million tons of products would be imported to and exported from the country annually in the first years of launching this railway project.”
The 130-kilometer-long Khaf-Herat railroad connecting Iran and Afghanistan has high potential for transit to the eastern neighboring country.
Khaf-Herat railway will be 130 km long, of which 70 km is inside Iran soil and 60 km is inside Afghanistan.
NIGC Plans to Export Iranian Gas to Afghanistan
The CEO of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) Hassan Montazer Torbati announced that the initial plan to export Iranian gas to Afghanistan has been prepared to be developed by the private sector.
Montazer Torbati said: "Increasing production in South Pars has been one of the supports for the development of the country’s gas industry.”
He said beck in 2013, Iran consumed 34 billion liters of liquid fuel per year which has been replacing with natural gas since then and is hoped to be fully replaced by natural gas by 2024.
Torbati stated that the annual consumption of these 34 billion liters of fuel cost about 17 billion dollars, adding that this cost was gradually reduced and by 2019, about 11 billion dollars of revenue was obtained from this replacement.
He added: "This revenue will reach about 28 billion dollars by March 2024, and this increase will continue after that.”
The NIGC CEO further told reporters that the discovery of a new gas field in Turkey had no effect on its gas contract with Iran.
He said: "This issue has no effect on the current contract for Iranian gas exports to Turkey. We must see how the Turkish market would be impacted by the demand in the country. The amount discovered is not a significant figure for their total needs, and we hope to start negotiations on a contract extension soon.”
Regarding Iran’s gas exports to Afghanistan, the official said the initial plan for exporting gas to Afghanistan has been prepared by NIGC. The project will be developed by the private sector.