The Islamic Republic of Iran is looking for new ways to link their capital, Tehran, with Syria's Damascus and Iraq's Baghdad. One of the proposed actions they are taking to make this a reality is the construction of new highways and rail systems that would link Syria with Iran via Iraq.
Iran's Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri in statements this week underlined his country’s determination to build new roads and railways in order to link the Persian Gulf states to Syria and the Mediterranean region.
“Iran which understands the political and economic conditions and developments believes that the necessary capacities for cooperation in transferring power and electricity, building roads and etc. will be provided and we hope that obstacles will be removed through the presence of the private sector,” Jahangiri said, addressing the joint Iran-Iraq economic-trade forum in Tehran on Sunday.
He noted that building the Shalamcheh-Basra railway was one of the agreements made during the recent visit by the Iraqi delegation to Iran.
Jahangiri stressed the importance of developing a cross border highway between the two countries in order to boost trade and commerce, while also protecting their interests in the region.
“We will connect the Persian Gulf from Iraq to Syria and Mediterranean via railway and road,” Jahangiri said.
The Shalamcheh-Basra railway project is said to cost around 2.22 billion rials and once implemented, it will link the Iranian railway to Syria through Iraq.
For years since the start of the war in Syria, analysts have speculated what the so-called "Shia land bridge" or Iran-Iraq-Syria corridor to the Mediterranean would look like:
Director General of the Railway and Technical Structures Department at the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) Mohammad Moussavi said in December that Iran was to build a movable railway bridge over the Arvand River as part of the 35-kilometer Shalamcheh-Basra railway project for linking Iran-Iraq railway network.
In addition to their railway and highway projects, Iran is also rumored to be planning to build a naval base in Syria's western coast.
While this is still rumor, the idea that Iran could have access to the Mediterranean could trigger more airstrikes from Israel.