By Stanley Carvalho www.reuters.com
(Reuters) – Iran is hopeful its ally China will fund up to $2 billion to complete Tehran’s metro rail which faces delays due to lack of financing as a result of sanctions, a government official said on Monday.
Phase two of the metro is on track for completion next year but two new lines under the third phase may be delayed due to lack of money, Mohammad Montazeri, deputy managing director, planning & logistics, Tehran Urban & Suburban Railway Co said.
“We are seeing funds from foreign companies. We are in negotiations with China (government, banks and agencies), we are hoping to get financing,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of the Middle East Economic Digest’s Rail Projects conference.
“If the loans come we can finish on time,” he said.
The United States and its allies accuse Iran of using its atomic program as a cover to develop nuclear weapons and have imposed increasingly stringent economic sanctions to try to force Iran to answer questions about the program. Iran has said its program is for solely peaceful purposes, not for weapons.
Tehran initially planned to build 430 kilometers of metro lines with 256 stations at a cost of $18 billion. But as sanctions began to bite, only 261 kilometers and 175 stations were approved, estimated to cost around $10 billion, he told the conference earlier.
The 89-km, 41 stations phase one is operational and the 70-km, 66 stations phase two is scheduled for completion in 2013. The third phase of two lines, about 102 km and 68 stations is due to be completed by 2015, if financing is secured. More info