Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Businessweek
Economics

Iran’s Door to the West Is Slamming Shut, and That Leaves China

  • Trump wants to punish Iran, Xi wants it on his new Silk Road
  • At Tehran metro, they admire EU machinery -- but buy Chinese
Daily Life In Iran
Photographer: Ali Mohammadi/Bloomberg

Tehran traffic is gridlocked half the time, and the city spends most of the year engulfed in smog, so it’s not surprising that locals travel underground when they can -- on a metro system that sometimes carries 2 million people a day.

During the sanctions decade, when Iran was largely frozen out of global commerce, the capital’s authorities managed to steadily expand the network -- roughly doubling its size. It wasn’t easy. Often, “the parts we needed, we had to build ourselves,’’ said Ali Abdollahpour, deputy managing director of Tehran Urban and Suburban Railway Operating Company.