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EghtesadOnline: Iranian and Chinese customs officials finalized negotiations on a cooperation agreement based on which China will be shipping its goods to Iranian ports from where they will be transited to Europe by land.

In a meeting held in Tehran earlier this week, the two sides made preparations to implement the agreement in the near future.

The project is considered the biggest joint plan of action in customs cooperation between Iran and China, IRNA reported.

The agreement is part of a bigger Chinese project, introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2013, to revive the ancient Silk Road. The initiative termed “Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Maritime Silk Road” aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe through more efficient logistics networks by building more roads, railroads and airports. It is supported by Asian Development Bank.

Beijing has launched the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank with $100 billion in capital and the $40 billion New Silk Road Fund to fund major infrastructure projects in the region.

Tehran has already pledged to support the initiative with an investment of $6 billion over the next six years.

Preliminary agreements on the project were made during a state visit by Xi to Tehran in January.

Noting that currently some 100 countries are using Iran’s routes to transit their goods, the Chinese side in Monday’s Tehran negotiations said Iran’s border security and strategic location in the Middle East make it an ideal country to implement the project, reports Financial Tribune.

Iran shares land borders with 15 countries and sea channels on its northern and southwestern coasts and is expected to play a crucial role in the Belt & Road initiative as an energy hub and access to extensive delivery routes connecting the Middle East and Eurasia.

It is estimated that the project, when carried out, will utilize Iran’s unused transportation capacity and benefit the country with tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue.

Iranian ports Iran-China trade Europe gateway