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Railway ties Amman, Damascus, Tehran

Ausgut 15, 2000, AMMAN, Jordan (AP) - Plans to link the capitals of Jordan and Iran via Syria are underway in a bid to encourage religious tourism, Hijaz Railway Corp. Director General Abdul Razaq Abul Feilat said Tuesday.

Rail travel between Amman and Damascus, Syria has been available for over a year. Abul Feilat told The Associated Press negotiations between Syrian and Iranian officials are underway to start rail travel between Tehran, Iran and the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, and from there on to Damascus and Amman.

He said Jordan planned a media campaign to promote religious sites in the kingdom considered holy to the Shiite sect of Islam. Most Iranians are Shiite Muslims.

"Traveling by train would be a real bargain for tourists compared to air travel costs," said Abul Feilat, whose corporation is state-owned.

The two-day journey from Tehran to Amman will not cost more than dlrs 30, he said. In addition to recently restarted rail travel between Aleppo and the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which links Amman to Baghdad via Mosul and other Iraqi cities, a railway linking Aleppo to Istanbul, Turkey will be activated soon and tie Amman by rail to all major European cities.


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