More than 1,400 delegates attended the 11th International Rail Transport Conference organised by the Iranian Association of Rail Transport Engineering with the support of Iranian Railways RAI and NirooRail on 24-25 October 2009 in Tehran. The inauguration of the conference and railway exhibition took place on 24 October with speeches or presentations of Dr. Hamid Behbahani, Minister of Road and Transportation of Iran, Mr. Ali Larijani, President of the Islamic Consultative Assembly of I.R. Iran, Mr. Saheb-Mohamadi, recently appointed new Vice Minister of Road and Transportation, President of the Iranian Railways RAI, Dr. Mohammad Yahya Maroofi, Secretary General of the regional organisation for cooperation ECO, and Paul Véron, UIC Coordinator for Middle-East, representing UIC.
Invited guests included the ambassadors of Turkey, Russia, India together with several States from Central Asia and representatives of a series of associations, among them UITP.
Several Iranian speakers put a strong focus on the ambitious plans to develop railway transportation –for passengers and freight- in Iran in order to cope with current and future challenges of mobility and sustainable development. One of the main issues to be solved is to collect funds for these high investments, preferably through a privatisation process and the development of private / public partnerships PPP.
After the conference, Paul Véron, UIC Coordinator for the Middle-East Region, had the chance to meet with the new President of Iranian Railways Mr. Saheb-Mohamadi in presence of Mr. Abbas Nazari, Director General International Affairs Department of RAI and Dr. Mahmoud Keymanesh, Director of UIC Middle-East Regional Office in Tehran and Responsible for the International Railway Academy (IAR). This meeting gave the opportunity to highlight the important role played by the Iranian railways in the UIC life, as a member of the Executive Board and General Assembly and the Vice Chair Railway of UIC Regional Assembly Middle-East (the Chair Railway being TCDD from Turkey).
Mr. Saheb-Mohamadi expressed the wish that the issue of privatisation and partnership with potential investors becomes one of the priority activities on the UIC Middle-East Action Plan.