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    RUSSIAN, IRANIAN RAILWAY AUTHORITIES TO SIGN MEMORANDUM ON COOPERATION

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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russian and Iranian railway authorities will sign a memorandum on cooperation in Tehran, during the Russian Railways' president Gennady Fadeyev's visit to Iran, the Russian company's press service reported.

    The visit is scheduled for April 6-7 and will include Mr. Fadeyev's meeting with Iran's transport minister, as well as with the country's political and business elites.

    "Mr. Fadeyev intends to discuss with Iranian colleagues participation of OAO Russian Railways in construction of a railway network in some Iranian provinces, as well as opportunities of functioning of the North-South transport corridor," the company said in a statement.

    "On August 1, 2004, the first container train will depart from Berlin for Tehran. It will be followed by a train from Helsinki. The sooner we establish efficient railway communication with Iran, the more profit the two countries will get," Mr. Fadeyev pointed out.

    Russo-Iranian cooperation is acquiring an increasing geopolitical and economic importance, he believes.

    "Iran is a strategically beneficial partner, and many countries are seeking to establish cooperation with it," he explained.

    Kazakhstan, for example, is eyeing a possibility of building a European track to transport Iranian oil to China via Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. After the memorandum of cooperation is signed, the parties are expected to set up joint Russian-Iranian working groups.

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