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Iran, Armenia Agree To Build Railroad

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian

YEREVAN -- In anticipation of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian's visit to Tehran later this month, government officials have agreed to build a $1.2 billion railway linking Armenia and Iran.

The 470-kilometer project connecting the border regions and creating the first rail link between the two countries has been discussed for years, but a Sarkisian aide said that during talks in Yerevan on March 13, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki and Sarkisian said the project is of "particular importance."

They also agreed to cooperate on more "large-scale projects."

The Iranian-Armenian rail line is expected to boost trade relations and was one of Sarkisian's campaign promises during his presidential bid.

Iranian Roads and Communication Minister Hamid Bihbahani told RFE/RL's Armenian Service on April 3 that the two countries have agreed to ask the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to help fund the project.

Construction could take up to three years.