Tehran - China on Thursday launched a freight train service that connects its northern regions to Iran’s capital Tehran in what could be a major connectivity project of vital importance to the flow of trade between the two countries. The freight train service would take cargoes from Bayannur in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region to Tehran. China sent an inaugural train toward Iran carrying 1,150 tonnes of sunflower seeds.
It would travel a distance of around 8,000 kilometers through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan and would arrive in Iran within two weeks. The new train route will shorten transportation time by at least 20 days compared with ocean shipping, according to a report by Xinhua news agency. Bayannur is China’ biggest sunflower seed production area. The city exports about 180,000 tonnes of sunflower seeds every year, with 90 percent of them headed for Middle Eastern, European and US markets, the report added. The launch of a train service to Iran comes as the United States is preparing to impose what President Donald Trump has described as a tough regime of sanctions against the country.