Turkey, Iran restart train service between capital cities

Turkey and Iran will restart a train service between Ankara and Tehran this week, left-wing news website Haber Sol reported citing a Turkish minister.

The Trans Asia Express will carry passengers and freight from Wednesday, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Barkanı Turhan said, according to Haber Sol.

The line is re-opening after a four-year break following meetings between Turkish and Iranian officials in May, the website said.

Turkey and Iran have enjoyed closer relations under the 17-year rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), which sought closer relations with Turkey’s neighbours and a stronger regional profile for the country.

Erdoğan’s AKP has been reluctant to impose U.S.-led economic sanctions on the Islamic republic. A scandal involving an alleged oil-for-gold swap deal during the previous U.S. sanctions regime had raised political tensions between the two NATO allies and led to the imprisonment of a senior official of a Turkish state-run bank in the United States.

Turkey has slashed oil imports from Iran after a latest wave of measures against Tehran introduced by President Donald Trump.  Turkey still imports natural gas from Iran, the country’s second largest supplier after Russia.