The cargo train service linking Yinchuan, the capital of northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and Iranian capital Tehran began operations on September 5.
The train left Yinchuan South Railway Station loaded with more than 560 tonnes of machinery, household goods, ceramics and glassware. It is scheduled to reach Tehran in about fifteen days, travelling via Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
The rail service is twenty days faster than sea freight, and also lowers delivery costs.
The Iranian economy is currently opening up, after broad international sanctions were lifted as a result of the nuclear agreement negotiated under former US President Barack Obama. However, the relationship between the US and Iran remains fragile, and over the summer President Donald Trump hit Iran with some limited new sanctions.
Nonetheless, big trade and investment deals have already been signed, and countries such as China, Russia and even France are likely to oppose any return to full sanctions and the isolation of Iran.
Airbus has already made its first deliveries of narrowbody A321s and widebody A330s, which are being flown by Iran Air. Iran Air has also placed an order with Boeing, with first deliveries scheduled for 2018.
On July 3, Iran formally signed a contract with China National Petroleum Corp and French oil company Total for the development and production of phase 11 of South Pars, which is the world's largest natural gas field.