Iran constructing train line through Kurdistan region and Syria to Mediterranean

Iran's President Hasan Rouhani greets soldiers in Kurdish provincial capital Sanandaj, 25 March 2017, (Photo: Mehr News)

Iran is constructing a railway that will connect Tehran – through the Kurdistan Region in northern Iraq – to the Mediterranean Sea in Syria’s  west, the country’s president said in a visit to Sanandaj on Saturday.

President Hasan Rouhani described the construction as one of “the most important infrastructure projects” in the country adding that it would create many job opportunities in Sanandaj, the Kurdish provincial capital in Iran, reported Rudaw.

“By extending the railway from Sanandaj to the Kurdistan Region in Iraq, we will connect Iran to the Mediterranean Sea through Syria.”

Rouhani’s visit came two months before the next presidential election and has been viewed as an attempt to bolster support for the frontrunner.

The president launched 21 new projects in the highly impoverished province, including a petrochemical factory and two dams, Rudaw reported.

However, critics slammed the visit saying the leader had failed to deliver on promises from his first term in office.

The Kurdistan Province in the west of the country is one of the 31 provinces that make up Iran and is constituted of the poorest and underdeveloped areas, which activists say is a conscious state policy.

Officials in the KRG and Syria have not made a statement on the proposed train line and it is not known how other forces in the region will react to the development, which will extend Tehran’s influence.