Iran Will Need Russia's Help to Build Its Caspian Sea-Persian Gulf Canal
Iran's ambitious project to build a 'trans-Iranian' canal from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf will only be possible with Russia's help, says Bahram Amirahmadiyan, an expert on political geography at the University of Tehran.
30 March, 2016
Over the weekend, media reports recalled Iran's plans to construct an artificial trans-Iranian canal linking the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf. Negotiations on the project are said to be underway, with the canal itself expected to be commissioned in the 2020s.
"The history of this project dates back several decades, and it is rightly considered to be strategically important, since it would [exit into] international waters. Accordingly, the US military ships which currently operate in the Persian Gulf, and the ships of their allies, would run into certain difficulties in their freedom of movement. Therefore, considering current geopolitical realities, such a canal has strategic significance for Russian-Iranian relations."
Part of the discussion on the proposed Caspian Sea-Persian Gulf canal, the expert noted, includes focus on proposals to transfer water from the Caspian Sea to central Iran to help address the problems of water scarcity in agriculture.
"However, such an effort may carry its own negative consequences, such as a disturbance of the ecological system, climate change and other issues."
"In the early 2000s," the expert recalled, "countries signed on to the North-South Transport Corridor," a ship, rail and road route linking Russia to India via Iran. "But this project has [so far] remained on paper."
"But the final word on the project falls to the specialists, to politicians and diplomats, who, through a comprehensive approach, can give the project new life. Of course, this will require the intensification of cooperation between the specialized agencies of Iran and Russia, including the joint Iranian-Russian Trade Commission."