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First 'Silk Road' Train from China Arrives in Tehran
Feb 19, 2016

The first train to connect China and Iran arrived in Tehran on 15 February loaded with Chinese goods, reviving the ancient Silk Road. The revival of the Silk Road is crucial for the countries on its route.

  • The train, carrying 32 containers of commercial products from eastern Zhejiang province, took less than 14 days to make the 9,500-kilometre journey through Kazakstan and Turkmenistan.

  • The journey was 30 days shorter than the sea voyage from Shanghai to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas.

  • The railway will not stop in Tehran as China is planning to extend the railway to Europe in future, generating more income for Iran from passing trains.

  • The train will leave China every month and the frequency will be increased if necessary.

  • The train is run by private companies using existing routes.

  • More than a third of Iran's foreign trade is with China, which is Tehran's top customer for oil exports.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed last month to build economic ties worth up to $600 billion within the next 10 years. It came during the visit to Iran by Xi, the first by a Chinese president in 14 years, and just days after sanctions against Iran were lifted under a historic nuclear deal with world powers.

The Silk Road is an ancient network of commercial land and sea routes, named for the lucrative Chinese silk trade, that were central to business across the Asian continent connecting China to the Mediterranean Sea.

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