With a rapidly rising population, the programme is designed to relieve congestion in the country’s increasingly gridlocked cities and aid growth.On completion of the plan, it is hoped that about 50 per cent of all urban journeys will be taken on the proposed networks.

Tehran is looking to obtain 100 per cent financing for each project, similar to the funding solution for the capital’s most recent metro expansion project, awarded to China North Industries Corporation (Norinco)in the summer. The eight-and-a-half-year financing for the $680 million contract is to be provided by the China Export-Import Bank. For the larger cities, the government and the relevant municipality will each repay 50 per cent of the loans, which will be guaranteed by the Economy & Finance Ministry and the government (MEED 11:6:04).

For smaller cities, Tehran will commit itself to 70 per cent of the repayments, with the municipality paying the remainder. For the majority of individual projects it is hoped that significant returns will be possible through land lease agreements with contractors for plots of land around stations on each route.