Date
23 January 2017
Officials applaud on the platform as the first train connecting China and Iran arrives in Tehran on Monday. Photo: AFP
Officials applaud on the platform as the first train connecting China and Iran arrives in Tehran on Monday. Photo: AFP

First Silk Road train from China arrives in Tehran

A train loaded with Chinese goods arrived in Tehran on Monday in a journey marking the revival of the ancient Silk Road that connects the east to Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.

The train, carrying 32 containers of commercial products from eastern China’s Zhejiang province, took 14 days to make the 9,500-kilometer [5,900-mile] trip through Kazakstan and Turkmenistan, Agence France-Presse reported.

“The arrival of this train in less than 14 days is unprecedented,”  Mohsen Pourseyed Aqayi, the head of the Iranian railway company, said during a ceremony at Tehran’s rail station.

“The revival of the Silk Road is crucial for the countries on its route,” Aqayi said.

The journey was 30 days shorter than the sea voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, he added.

Aqayi said the route will be extended to Europe, generating more income for Iran from passing trains.

The train is run by private companies using existing routes, Iranian railway company spokesman Sadegh Sakari told AFP.

More than a third of Iran’s foreign trade is with China, which is Tehran’s top market for its oil exports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed last month to strengthen economic ties worth up to US$600 billion within the next 10 years.

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