Answering the question about the Iran-Armenia railway, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan announced that time will show whether there is logic to build the railway or not.
Karen Karapetyan announced that it makes no difference for a businessman whether they ship their goods by truck or railway. He says if we have a good road, shipments between Iran and Armenia will be done via that road without any issues.
The prime minister gave the example of the United States, noting that shipments there are mostly done by trucks.
Karen Karapetyan is right, of course. Whether a road or a railway, the issue requires thorough study and analysis.
However, it turns out that in 2008 Serzh Sargsyan made an illogical and unjustified statement about the layout of the Iran-Armenia railway and by the way, hundreds of millions of drams were spent on this for years.
Then, for about ten years, official Yerevan regularly announced about seeking for investments. About 3 billion dollars which is the value of the Armenian part of the railway. Official Tehran announced that if Armenia gets the money to build its part of the railway, Tehran will build its own half.
Of course, the bulk of the work is the territory of Armenia because the Iranian side only needs to build a short section connecting Djolfa and Meghri because there is a railway to Djolfa, the border of Nakhijevan.
Yerevan did not get the money. Apparently, they hopes to get money from Russia or China. A few years ago Russia announced that the Iran-Armenia railway is a wall, it does not lead to anywhere.
Russia does not need this railway. Does China need it? It’s difficult to say. Pekin may take that step out of political necessity, especially that it has ambitions with regards to its presence in the Caucasus, is making investments in Georgia and would not mind investing in the Iran-Armenia-Georgia pole and gaining economic and political presence blocks China’s way.
Hence, Yerevan could not find economic and political stakeholders or rather did not have enough sovereignty and now it has to give up on a project which was not logical and justified from the very beginning.
After the change of cabinet Karen Karapetyan initiated a layoff and an agency created for the construction of Iran-Armenia within the ministry of communication and transport was made redundant.
In this period Armenia started implementing the project of the North-South highway which is assessed at 1.5 billion but is rather slow.
However, unlike the railway, the North-South highway is, at least, an ongoing project. Armenia needs to accelerate this vital project, considering the active processing to bring into being the transport projects bypassing Armenia.
Unless there is a breakthrough in the rate and efficiency of the North-South project, Armenia may fall behind the race and over time this project may also lose its logic.