THE IRAS INSTITUTE 10 Nov 2017 21:12 -------------------------------------------------- Bahram Amirahmadian Title : Persian Gulf-Black Sea Corridor: A Major Change in Iran’s Geopolitical Position -------------------------------------------------- Text : In order to facilitate the transit of goods across their territory, countries try to create favorable conditions for regional exchanges. These attempts will eventually result in revenue for the transit country and help strengthen its political and geopolitical position in the international arena while increasing the dependence of destination countries on the transit country. Therefore, the benefits of transit corridors are multi-faceted. If a country has the potential to become a transit country, due to its geographic location, and aims to employ this potential to enhance its international standing, it should create the appropriate legal and political environment and set up the proper physical infrastructure. News of the final approval of the Persian Gulf -Black Sea corridor project, which was conceived a few years ago during discussions on the transit of goods across the territory of the Islamic Republic of Iran - is encouraging. Those in the transport and transit sector who are concerned about the decline in transit volumes via Iran due to the establishment of rival corridors, can now seriously plan on operating on this corridor. In the current situation, where the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway has recently become operational, some concerns have been raised about limitations in Iran s transit capacities. Iran s eastern neighbor (Afghanistan) is now defining the Azure Route corridor project through Turkmenistan to bypass Iran and connect with Europe. There is also the TRACECA corridor project which links central Asia to Europe through the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus. At this point, the efforts of Iranian transport and transit officials to develop the Persian Gulf -Black Sea corridor is appreciable. Following the recent meeting between the presidents of Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran in Tehran, the development of the Persian Gulf-Black Sea corridor which crosses the territory of Azerbaijan and then Georgia to reach the Black Sea region gains significance. The Russian president s visit and his meetings with high-ranking Iranian officials and the seriousness of the negotiations to put the North-South corridor into operation are of great importance. Iran, on the other hand, has been looking for routes other than the Turkish land route to connect with Europe. The Persian Gulf-Black Sea transit route is one of the alternatives. It is hoped that in the near future, with the establishment of stability and peace in Iraq and Syria, the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Mediterranean Sea corridor will also be devised and operational. The Persian Gulf-Black Sea corridor, which is defined as a corridor linking the Persian Gulf region to the Black Sea and European countries, provides for freight transport between the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean states and Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Black Sea states, Ukraine, Poland, and other European countries through Iran. It can also provide a basis for the transportation of goods from Europe to Iran and the exchange of goods between the member states. Hamshahri Daily Bahram Amirahmadian, an assistant professor at University of Tehran, is the senior fellow at IRAS. To comment on this article, please contact IRAS Editorial Board