U.S. Exempts Iran's Chabahar Port From Sanctions In Nod To Afghanistan

India gets US waiver for development of strategic Chabahar Port in Iran

India gets US waiver for development of strategic Chabahar Port in Iran

The State Department said it was carving exemptions from its sanctions on Iran's economy for the development of Chabahar along with an attached railway project and Iranian petroleum shipments to Afghanistan.

India has warm relations with Iran and has joined China and European powers in saying it was not obligated to comply with the unilateral USA sanctions, although it has sought to appease Washington by curbing some of its Iranian oil imports.

In October-November 2017, India successfully despatched an inaugural consignment of around 15,000 tons of wheat from the Indian port of Kandla in Gujarat to Afghanistan via Chabahar, in line with its commitment to provide 1.1 million tons of wheat to Afghanistan on a grant basis.

The U.S. sanctions on Tehran come as the Trump administration withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May, saying it had not stopped Iran from developing its ballistic missile program and intervening in neighboring countries.

India was among the eight countries that were granted temporary waiver for purchase of Iranian oil.

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.

With the 180 day grace period coming to an end on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the return of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nations southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.

A convinced U.S. administration told India Today, "The President's South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India".

And the USA, the official said, seeks to "build on our close relationships with both countries as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime's destabilising policies in the region and beyond". It is also considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries after Pakistan denied transit access to India.

Since South Korea's currency has low convertibility, . the official said, the negotiating team assured the US that this method of transaction will not allow USA dollars or other foreign currencies to flow into Iran.

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