India gets USA waiver for Iran's Chabahar Port

Marco Green
November 7, 2018

"Since its inauguration a year ago, we have shipped about 110 thousand metric tons of much-needed wheat and 2,000 metric tons of pulses from India to Afghanistan through this port", Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had said at a conference in New Delhi Delhi last week.

Zahedan is also in Iran but closer to the Afghanistan border.

This waiver will bring some measure of relief to India, which had been discussing a sanctions exemption for Chabahar having signed an agreement with Iran and Afghanistan in May 2016 for the port's development.

Iran late previous year inaugurated the port on the Indian Ocean, which is being built largely by India and is expected to provide a key supply route for Afghanistan while allowing India to bypass rival Pakistan to trade with Central Asia and Africa.

This exemption is in addition to "temporary allotments" - Significant Reduction Exemptions -from sanctions that the United States announced for India and seven major importers of Iranian crude oil on Monday, when the second and final round of sanctions went into effect fully.

Earlier, South Korean Ambassador to Tehran Ryu Jeong-hyun said that despite many European companies leaving Iran under the pressure of US sanctions, South Korean firms understand the significance of the Iranian market and have chosen to stay.

President Donald Trump's "South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India", a State Department spokesman said on November 6. Reacting to the Trump administration's decision, USA experts said it was a "right move".

India, Smith argued, "made a convincing case" that its principal interest in the port was to develop alternative infrastructure links to Afghanistan that bypass Pakistan, which also serves the U.S. national security interests.

Smith said, Delhi credibly argued that if it were to abandon development efforts at Chabahar the void would most likely be filled by others, including China.

Asserting that the US' "desperation" was highlighted in their move to include closed companies in the sanctions, Zarif said that the anti-Iran move was mostly criticised and opposed by the global community and that only a handful of nations like Israel and others supported the move.

Rick Rossow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said: "Chabahar's role to transport key logistics to Afghanistan will continue to grow over time".

"This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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