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    RUSSIA, IRAN WILL SIGN MEMO OF COOPERATION IN RAILWAY SPHERE

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    TEHRAN, April 7, 2004 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Iran are expected to sign a memorandum of cooperation in the railway transport sphere.

    Iranian Transport Minister Ahmad Khorram said following talks with Gennady Fadeyev, President of the Russian Railways joint stock company, that Iran was satisfied with the current dialogue and that Mr Fadeyev's visit to Iran would give an impetus to the development of Russian-Iranian cooperation in the railway transport sphere.

    Iran has a lot of problems to tackle in its railway transport infrastructure and is interested in buying special equipment, railway control and security systems and develop new railway routes, said the minister.

    Mr Khorram said Tehran would back, at a meeting of the countries of the North-South transport corridor, due in India in two months, Russian Railways' engagement in transport operations as part of the treaty on the international transport corridor. The treaty was signed by Russia, Iran and India on September 12, 2000. (The North-South route has a series of advantages over the sea route via the Suez Canal as the former is twice as short a link between South East Asia and Europe).

    Mr Khorram said Iran and Russia had resolved to set up a bilateral commission to deal with specific projects, for example, the construction of a railway from Kazwin (Kazwin province) to Astara (Gilan province).

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