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Iran and ports development projects in West Asia

Monday, 27 July 2015 | 11:00
Iran adopted plan for the development of Chabahar Port and needs to develop Bandar Abbas, Bandar Turkmen, Anzali Port and Astara if it seeks to keep pace with the ports development projects underway on its neighborhood.

While Iran was defending itself in the course of the imposed war, 1980-1988, the United Arab Emirates with the development of the world biggest trade zone - Jabal Ali, 1985 - took the measure which Iran was expected to take in Kish.

Today, security and stability are dominant in the country which can serve as a guarantee for strategic planning. Trade and political conditions necessitates that by taking a lesson from past experience the country should keep pace with the emerging developments in West Asia.

The developments are the result of two important events in economic and political fields in Asia and Europe: competition of India and China for gaining access to the world market and building of trade highways; Europe's tendency to purchase gas from Central Asia and becoming free from Russia's pressure.

1- Chabahar vs. Gwadar

Gwadar is a port in Baluchestan of Pakistan which borders Iran. Beijing with $46 billion investment in transportation infrastructure of Pakistan intends to connect Gwadar to Kashgar in China through highway, railway and pipeline in an effort to turn gwadar into a trade terminal for China and Pakistan at the mouth of the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf and also receives the Persian Gulf oil from a shorter and safer route.

Chabahar is situated 72km from Gwadar and is within the Iranian border. India is decisive to take the same measure that China is taking in Gwadar and gain access to Afghanistan and then Central Asia through Chabahar.

2- Turkmen vs. Turkmenbashi

Turkmenbashi is an oil rich port in the Caspian Sea in Turkmenistan. Japanese have made investment for the development of oil industries in this region and recently the Turkish Gap Insaat has signed a contract for the development of one of the ports of Turkmenbashi. It is the port which was expected to replace Iran after the sanctions for transfer of gas from Turkmenistan to Europe (NABACO).

New conditions of Iran at international scene will change the situation in Iran's favor. However, development of Turkmen Port will be a necessity either with NABACO or without it.

3- Astara vs. Baku

Baku is the capital of the Republic of Azerbaijan and a tourist city. Recently, the Azeri president has ordered reduction in ticket price and hotel fees and provision of further visa facilities in order to attract more foreign tourists.

In comparison, if Astara which is a border city which tourist attractions is developed, it can also be host to passengers from the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Finally, Iran, Pakistan, Central Asian countries and Turkey are members of Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) which can coordinate economic and trade activities and make planning by considering developments. Meanwhile, ports are trade and transportation terminals and in Iran Chabahar, Bandar Abbas, Anzali and even Turkmen and Astara can play strategic role.
Source: Irna
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