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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran Gets Neighborly

TBILISI, Georgia () -- Hurt by flat oil prices and tough U.S. trade sanctions, Iran is seeking to strengthen ties with the former Soviet republics along its northern border.

In the Georgian capital Monday, near the end of a tour through the former Soviet Union, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Velayati stressed the importance Iran placed on being a good neighbor.

Key to Tehran's higher profile in the region is the recent opening of a rail link between Iran and Turkmenistan.

The railway, linking Tedjen in Turkmenistan with Meshkhed in northern Iran, will give the five Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan an outlet to the Persian Gulf.

The three now face months of reports and medical tests but were already looking forward to further adventures in space. "Maybe in 20 or 30 years it will be possible to take a family up there and live," Reiter said.