Iranian and Kazakh officials in a meeting in Tehran on Monday conferred on ways to expand transportation and transit relations between the two countries. The issue was discussed between Iranian Deputy Industry, Mines and Trade Minister Mojtaba Khosrotaj and his Kazakh counterpart on Monday. During the meeting, Khosrotaj referred to the new policies proclaimed by Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei for the consolidation of the relations with the neighboring states, and said, "In this directive the issue of transit has come under notice; therefore, we are studying the transit potentials of Kazakhstan's Inche- Boroun and (Iran's) Sarakhs regions." The Kazakh official, for his part, announced Astana's readiness to increase the volume of wheat and metals exports to Iran, and expressed the hope that launching Kazakhstan's railway would link his country to Iran's port city of Bandar Abbas on the rims of the Persian Gulf, and that container transportation between the two countries would increase. Also in March, Kazakh, Turkmen and Iranian officials in a meeting discussed ways to implement a joint railway project. Representatives of the three Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) member states reviewed the latest developments regarding the implementation of the railway project. Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway is a part of the North-South international transport corridor. It is assumed that the railroad would create additional routes linking Kazakhstan, the central regions of Russia and Turkmenistan, Iran, Persian Gulf countries, South and Southeast Asia and will increase transit freight and passenger traffic, reduce transport costs, save time for travel and cause economic growth in the regions through which the railway will run. A trilateral intergovernmental agreement was signed in 2007 between Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran on the Zhanaozen-Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek-Gorgan railway line with subsequent access to the Russian railway network, which will shorten the route by 600 kilometers. The construction operation started in 2009.