(AP) - Armenia's transport minister announced plans Sunday for a railroad linking the small, isolated former Soviet republic with its southern neighbor Iran.
The government has drafted two alternate plans for the railroad's route inside Armenia, both leading to the border town of Meghri, Andranik Manukian said. One would cost $760 million, the other $900 million, he said. He did not say where cash-strapped Armenia would find the money to build the railroad. A government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said some financing could come from Iran and Europe.
Armenia's one functioning cross-border railroad leads to Georgia. Rail links with foes Azerbaijan and Turkey are blocked because of persistent tension over Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia has close ties with Russia, to the north, but has been increasing cooperation with Iran recently.
Construction began last month on a pipeline that is to bring Iranian natural gas to Armenia, easing its reliance on supplies from Russia via Georgia, and the neighbors are increasing power-line links.