02/22/2022, 18.17
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Tehran and Doha to study the feasibility of the longest tunnel in the world

The project would link the Iranian port of Bandar-e Deyr to an unspecified location in Qatar. The underwater tunnel would run for 190 km, with both road and railway sections, although the former is more difficult. President Raisi is in Doha to sign four cooperation agreements, from energy to transport.

Doha (AsiaNews) – Iran is planning feasibility studies for what would be the longest tunnel in the world. If built, it would physically connect Iran to Qatar across the Persian Gulf.

The project is at the centre of talks this week between Iran’s Roads Minister Rostam Qasemi and his Qatari counterparts in Doha, coinciding with the official visit of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to the Arab emirate.

According to Iranian media, the tunnel would link the Iranian port of Bandar-e Deyr to a still unspecified location in Qatar.

Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organisation managing director Ali Akbar Safaei said the proposed new tunnel would “harbinger great developments both for Iran and for Qatar.”

Given the poor state of Iran’s economy, if undertaken, the project’s financing would fall largely on the shoulders of Qatar.

The closest point between the two countries is about 190 km and is three times the length of the longest transport tunnel in the world today, a 68-km section of Line 6 of the Chengdu Metro in southwest China.

A Persian Gulf tunnel would be five times longer than the current biggest underwater tunnel in the world, the Chunnel under the English Channel between France and the United Kingdom, which runs for 38 km.

Another tunnel, that of Seikan connecting the Japanese islands of Honshu and Hokkaido under the Tsuguru Strait, has an underwater section of 23.3 km.

The connection under the Persian Gulf would include both road and railway sections; however, a road tunnel is not considered very feasible due to the long distance.

Currently the longest road tunnel in the world is that of Lærdal, in Norway, running for 24.5 km. It required major work to tackle the claustrophobia and inattentiveness drivers might feel, with caves every six 6km with special lighting to add variety and provide resting places.

The first step for the new tunnel will be the creation of a joint Qatar-Iran committee to analyse the project, evaluating costs and benefits.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi arrived in Qatar yesterday for a historic visit; the two countries are expected to sign major economic agreements.

According to al-Jazeera, during his two-day stay in Doha, the president is expected to visit the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries (GEFC).

A meeting with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, is also on the agenda. The two leaders are expected to preside over the signing of a number of agreements.

The first is expected to be about the tunnel, the second about maritime links, the third about cooperation in maritime trade, and the last regarding air links.

Talks will also address energy issues. According to the Iranian agency Fars, Iran is interested in Qatar’s surplus electricity via underwater electric grids.

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