Iran’s rail sector could be named the top beneficiary of the nuclear
deal the country signed with world powers in 2015, as it has managed to
considerably improve its performance in the past three years.
The progress also seems to be resilient to the impact of the US
administration’s withdrawal from the deal, announced in May 2018, thanks
to the Iranian government’s effective policies, the country’s strategic
location and the commitment of its major partners.
Data released by the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways show that the
volume of freight transit through Iranian railroads reached an all-time
high of 1.5 million tons in the last Iranian year (March 2017-18).
Iran exported 11.9 million tons of oil and non-oil goods through
railroads last year, which is also an all-time high. The volume of
imports through railroads stood at 3 million tons–the highest since
World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index report for 2017-18
ranks Iran 42nd worldwide in terms of the quality of railroad
infrastructure. Iran was ranked 46th in 2016-17.
The country has signed several deals with major foreign companies
active in the rail sector as well as with financiers since January 2016
when the nuclear deal was implemented. But the US’ abrupt move to leave
the international agreement raised concerns over the future of the
Following US President Donald Trump’s May 8 announcement of intention
to revive sanctions against Iran, some European firms chose the easy way
out of their deals with Iran. However, the number of rail-related firms
that have left Iran in recent months is considerably lower than those
active in other sectors.