Few countries have been as isolated from the international community in the last 10 years as Iran. If you go back as far as 2002, former US President George W Bush even labeled the place as part of an ‘axis of evil’.
Later the European Union stopped importing Iranian oil and kicked the country’s banking system out of the global transaction system, called SWIFT.
Today, the ice seems to be thawing. After agreeing to curb its nuclear program, sanctions could be lifted as soon as early 2016, according to Gulf News.
Western corporations won’t be far behind. After all, Iran has a population of 70 million.
But perhaps even more important is the potential alliance between Beijing and Tehran. The Chinese are keen to lessen their trade dependence on the sea lanes of the world. The US Navy controls those.
That’s why China is prepared to invest billions to build a network of rail and transport links across Central Asia. It’s been dubbed the New Silk Road after the famous one of antiquity.
Could a fast train between China and Iran be one of those transport links? Quartz reports that China Railway is proposing such a project.
According to the Quartz,
‘The most recently proposed route would begin in Urumqi, the capital of China’s western Xinjiang province, and end in Tehran, the Iranian capital some 3,200 km (2,000 miles) away. Along the way it would stop in Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan.’
Passenger trains would run up to 300 km per hour, and freights trains about half that.
The route would like something like this…
At this stage it’s a proposal and no more. However, China has the money and technical expertise to make it happen.
Tech Insider reported on November 24 that,
‘China just finished construction on the longest bridge of its east-west high-speed railway network. Once completed, the network will connect all of China’s major cities and provinces, extending more than 31,000 miles by 2020.’
The bridge is designed to handle rail speeds up to 220 miles per hour. The average speed in the United States is 72 miles per hour.
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