Iran has officially inaugurated a railroad which connects the northern Iranian city of Gorgan to Incheh Borun town along the border with Turkmenistan.
The Gorgan-Incheh Borun railroad came on stream in a ceremony attended by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Roads and Urban Development Minister Ali Nikzad in Golestan Province on Monday.
The 80-kilometer long rail project, which is part of a broader railroad network, links Iran to Central Asia, Russia and China and has the capacity to annually transfer 10 million tons of goods and more than 4 million passengers.
The initial agreement on the construction of the railroad was signed between the presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in the city of Turkmenbashi in April 2007 and Iran joined the deal in September 2007.
The 920-kilometer railroad will shorten more than 600 kilometers of the route for transporting goods from the Central Asia to the Persian Gulf, and will become one of the important international transportation links between China and Europe.
Earlier on Sunday, Nikzad said projects are underway to connect Iran’s railway system to the international network via five points.
The Iranian minister said the five projects include linking Sarakhs in the northeast of the country to Azerbaijan Republic, Khosravy in the west of Iran’s Kermanshah Province to Iraq, southern border town of Shalamche to Iraq, southeastern port city of Chabahar to the Sea of Oman as well as the one which will link Iran to Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and China.
- Caspian Rail Corridor to link Russia to India (rbth.asia)
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says the next round of comprehensive talks between Iran and six world powers will be held in Kazakhstan on February 25, 2013.
Salehi made the announcement in his Sunday speech on the third day of the 49th annual Munich Security Conference in Germany.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany — known as the P5+1 group — have held several rounds of talks with main focus on Iranian nuclear energy program. The last round of negotiations between the two sides was held in Moscow in June 2012.
The United States, Israel, and some of their allies have repeatedly accused Iran of pursuing non-civilian objectives in its nuclear energy program.
Iran rejects the allegation, arguing that as a committed signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), it is entitled to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes.
In addition, the IAEA has conducted numerous inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities but has never found any evidence showing that the Iranian nuclear program has been diverted towards weapons production.
TEHRAN – Iranian Minister of Road and Urbanization Ali Nikzad said Ashgabat’s recent decision to annul a contract with an Iranian company over the construction of a key railway linking Iran to the Central Asia does not mean an end to the project and Tehran will accomplish construction of the railway which is a vital North-South corridor.
“The termination of Turkmenistan’s contract with an Iranian company will not affect the two country’s joint railway construction project,” Nikzad told FNA on Monday.
“This railway line will be inaugurated in due time,” the Iranian minister reiterated.
Meantime, he said Turkmenistan might have annulled the contract with the Iranian company in a bid to strike a better deal with the same or a different contractor.
Yet, the Iranian minister underscored that Iran will accomplish its undertakings with regard to this project.
Earlier media reports said that Turkmenistan has annulled a $700 million contract for an Iranian company to build a key section of the key railway line.
The decision was made at a cabinet meeting chaired by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhammadov.
During the cabinet meeting, the Turkmen president said Turkmenistan will build this section independently.
Yesterday, Iran started laying the rail line of a key transit and transportation project linking Iran’s Northern city of Gorgan to IncheBoron in Turkmenistan.
Speaking to FNA, Iranian Deputy Minister of Road and Urbanization Seyed Ahmad Sadeqi said that the last phase of the construction of the railway officially started in a ceremony with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in attendance.
He said that construction of the infrastructures of the 80km long railway has already been finished.
The railway will link Iran to Turkmenistan and then to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and will connect the CIS countries with the Indian Ocean and high seas and the Persian Gulf littoral states.
The primary agreement on the construction of the rail link among Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan was signed between presidents of Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan in April 2007 in the city of Turkmenbashi and its final agreement was signed in a summit meeting in Tehran in September of the same year by the three presidents.
The total route of the railway is 1000 kilometers, of which 90 kilometers would be in Iran, 700 kilometers in Turkmenistan and 210 kilometers in Kazakhstan.
The railway facilitates transportation of goods from the Central Asian countries to the Persian Gulf.
- Turkmenistan: Ashgabat Stops Iranian Railroad Project In Its Tracks (eurasiareview.com)
- Iran And Turkmenistan Ready To Develop Trade (rferl.org)
- Iran welcomes Tajik proposal for railroad link to China (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Foreign subsidiaries of Pfizer spent years bribing foreign doctors and healthcare officials to expand sales of the company’s pharmaceuticals, according to a $60 million settlement reached with the U.S. government.
The deal, brokered by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice, resolves charges of illegal activities that took place in about a dozen countries, including China, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kazakhstan, and Russia.
“Pfizer subsidiaries in several countries had bribery so entwined in their sales culture that they offered points and bonus programs to improperly reward foreign officials who proved to be their best customers,” Kara Brockmeyer, an SEC official, said in a news release. “These charges illustrate the pitfalls that exist for companies that fail to appropriately monitor potential risks in their global operations.”
In China, a subsidiary awarded doctors with points for every Pfizer prescription they wrote, allowing them to redeem the points for medical books, cell phones, and other gifts. In some cases, Pfizer’s China operation bribed physicians with free trips abroad.
Pfizer officials in the U.S. reportedly learned of the bribes in 2004 and began in internal investigation that kept federal regulators in the loop on what they discovered. The company insisted its executives knew nothing about the schemes before then.
- Pfizer Admits Bribery in Eight Countries (corpwatch.org)