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An Iranian oil tanker is seen floating on the Caspian Sea

Iran's 'Suez Canal': Tehran Could Connect Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf

© AFP 2016/ Henghameh FAHIMI
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One of the most ambitious initiatives that Tehran plans to launch will see an artificial channel link the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The project, which is expected to be completed in the 2020s, is particularly interesting for Russia due to the cold spell with Turkey, but European and post-Soviet states will also benefit from it.

In Iran, "work is underway to construct a navigable channel linking the Caspian and the Persian Gulf," economic analyst Alexei Chickin observed.

The initiative itself is not new. The idea first emerged in the late 19th century and by 1890s Russian engineers developed blueprints for the navigable channel that would offer Russia and others the shortest way to the Indian Ocean bypassing the Turkish Straits and the Suez Canal in Egypt.

A barge sprays water during the opening of the Neka oil terminal on the Caspian Sea, 340 kms northwest of Tehran in Mazandaran province (file)
© AFP 2016/ Henghameh FAHIMI
A barge sprays water during the opening of the Neka oil terminal on the Caspian Sea, 340 kms northwest of Tehran in Mazandaran province (file)

The project was endorsed by Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In 2012, former Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjoo estimated that the cost of the project would be approximately $7 billion.

In February 2015, Chairman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee of the Iranian Parliament Alaeddin Boroujerdi told the Fars news agency that Khatam-al Anbiya, an engineering company owned by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was taking a close look at the project.

But not everyone has welcomed the idea with open arms. "The West and Turkey have directly or indirectly tried to block the waterway [from being created]. As a matter of fact, the United States imposed sanctions" on companies that have been involved in the project, Chickin explained.

Other challenges to constructing the channel that would also help to deal with droughts in central Iran include difficult terrain, the sheer magnitude of the project, as well as the required level of funding, which among other things will have to cover desalination efforts. In addition, the artificial waterway will be built in an area prone to earthquakes.

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Tags:
engineering, geopolitics, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Persian Gulf, Caspian Sea
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  • juglul2001
    The length of the Iran Rud (Iran's river) channel - the shortest direct distance between the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf is ~ 765 km. Basically two routs have been proposed for this megaproject:
    The Western route - roughly following the shortest aerial distance between the two coasts , extending the total length of about 950 km from the far north of the Persian Gulf to the southwest of the Caspian Sea . Channel to the south passing Arvand Rudo , Karuna and Karkha (~ 450 km ) to the north -Sefid Rud (~ 50 km ) . The above rivers bed are partially navigable,. In the central part of the channel would be run through the high Zagros mountain valleys length of about 600 km.
    The Eastern route - stretching from coast Gulf of Oman to the south-east of the Caspian Sea total length of 1465 - 1600 km.
  • STOP killary !!
    the US geoplitical planners at the Pentagon just shat in their pants !!!!
  • professor.hornblow
    Kim Kyu-Un, the Grand Canal in China is 1,776 km, and the the Qaraqum Canal in Russia is 1375km.
  • innocappuccinno
    yeah, just what i wanted to say: if you wonder if it is possible, do not ask western axis members, why ask them, they are not the best at this. ask those who have the biggest achievements. number one is Russia. just inform yourself a bit about what soviet did. the russian channel system is way bigger than anything the west has! their navigable channels travers the entire continent on latitude and most of the continent on longitude. it is the one biggest infrastructure achievement of the entire human kind. China is coming from behind. and think about this: all the signs show that the entire west will never surpass them, not in ten thousand years! and why would ask US, UK, Germany, France, Japan, South K if it can be done? they are not qualified! if you want a transcontinental channel in North America, then you need to ask China/Russia if it can be done
  • jerstefin reply tojuglul2001(Show commentHide comment)
    juglul2001,
    looking back,just imagine the effort put into Syria,Egypt,Afghanistan,
    Libya,Yugoslavia...etc...
    WAR,WAR,WAR,let us(A)wage war,who gives a s*it about humanity?
    Everything is possible,except a wooden stove!Even that is possible!!
    At least once!!
    Turn the tanks into bulldozers,AK47 into plows etc..
    You will find out what the human kind is capable of...
    Need I say any more?
  • Ambuya
    I tell you, if they want it both it will be possible. There were bigger things done throughout history, especially soviet.
    USA and comrades will be shivering, nevertheless will try to shatter these plans, wrapping them in lies in the western media, but don't mind, Russia and Iran, just hold on!
    Russia was always lacking a quick access to southern maritime regions, was almost landlocked to the south-west and here it comes. Whow!
  • justnfreein reply tojuglul2001(Show commentHide comment)
    juglul2001, The path you're talking about is mostly mountain area with lot of fertile land. It would not be a good idea to unleash salty water on them, even if it was possible to dig.
  • justnfree
    Caspian sea is lower than open waters, that's why building such canal would drown considerable part of North of Iran which is most fertile part of it under salty water. Unless they build large dams which would also cost huge amount and would be vulnerable to earthquake, floods and foreign war criminals who might bomb it just like champions of peace and democracy did to Gaddafi man made river.

    By the way who knows what kind of ecological disaster might be resulted from flowing salty water throughout Iran from South to North. It would definitely cost way more than 7bn to do that.

    It's better to invest that money if available on expanding rail roads, petrochemical plants, renewable energy, large scale water desalination and modern sustainable agriculture.
  • USA and Turkey cannot stop Iran and Russia. If IRGC is involved with the project then it's done.
  • IranianExpat1916
    Nice thought but not possible.

    There are no practical routes to connect the 2 bodies of water.

    From the extensive mountain ranges to the Caspian being 20 meters lower than the Persian Gulf.

    As far as the reality of this article is concerned, well, it is made up. Iran is in the process of putting a pipeline to bring water from wet areas to the dries, and nothing more.

    Russia is not land locked and can bypass entering and exiting Sea of Marmara, thus being monitored by just about anyone, by using its northern access.
  • Celestial
    Logic would *deduce* that *dredging couples with *channeling* makes *inland* seaways as well as natural Aquifer type experiences by *ground* saturation = aquafifer re-fill..

    Or using advance(laughs histrically) principals humans can use *ground saturation* as natural *desalination...

    laughs..

    really wishes i could analyze for my government... :( instead owns multiple business.. rar..

    waste of life :(
  • iamgogmagog666
    The US and the west is too busy going deeper into debt with, their insane regime change agenda wars. Russia, China and Iran builds economic infrastructure, alliances, and economic mutually beneficial agreements, the US and the west bring wars.
  • zivilist
    That's the great game, that's Eurasia!
  • talktoarmando
    750-800kms, why not..looking at the jobs and the trade it will generate, it appears to be a winner. China and India will benefit a lot. Payback within a few years. When is it starting?
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