China's 'Silk Road' train makes journey to Iran in 14 days

A senior Iranian official said the train’s arrival in two weeks was "unprecedented."
By Elizabeth Shim  |  Feb. 17, 2016 at 2:13 PM
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TEHRAN, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- China is one step closer to realizing its revival of the ancient Silk Road after a cargo train arrived in Iran.

The train ended a 14-day journey that began in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, then crossed into Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan before arriving in Tehran on Monday, The Guardian reported.

The journey spanned more than 6,400 miles, and took one month less than a sea route that extends from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

Iranian officials waiting for the train at Tehran Railway Station applauded as it arrived, RT reported.

Mohsen Pourseyed Aqayi, the head of the Iranian railway company, said the train's arrival in two weeks was "unprecedented," adding the Silk Road revival is key for Central Asian countries on the train route.

"Countries along the Silk Road are striving to revive the ancient network of trade routes. The arrival in Tehran of the train in less than a fortnight has been an unprecedented achievement," he said.

Iranian officials have said the long-term goal of the project is to extend the route to Europe, which would place Iran as a key exchange point for land-based trade.

The train from Zhejiang included 32 containers and traveled 435 miles per day.

In January, Chinese President Xi Jinping became the first head of state to visit Iran after the lifting of sanctions. Beijing and Tehran agreed to increase trade to $600 billion over the next 10 years.

A revived Silk Road is part of China's "One Belt, One Road" economic development strategy and is named after a trade route that once connected China and Europe.

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