USA exempts Chabahar port-related activities from its sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

Iran late previous year inaugurated the port on the Indian Ocean which provides a key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan and allows India to bypass its arch-rival Pakistan.

In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations.

To a question on the fate of Chabahar Port after the USA reimposed all its sanctions on Iran, the spokesperson said, "This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan".

India has invested $500 million (approximately Rs 3,600 crore at current exchange rate) in the Chabahar project, which will connect the country with Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan. "These powerful sanctions directly target Iran's banking, energy and shipping sectors".

The sanctions exception granted to the Chabahar project aims to further U.S. ties with Afghanistan and India "as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime's destabilizing policies in the region and beyond", the State Department spokesman said. "These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief", the spokesman said.

When asked on the fate of Chabahar Port after the United States reimposed all its sanctions on Iran, the spokesperson said, "This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan".

"This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan". Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury Secretary, said Washington aimed to bring Iranian oil exports to zero, but 180-day exemptions were granted to eight importers: China, India, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey.

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.

India has poured $2 billion into Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led overthrow of the Taliban regime, which was also opposed by Iran.

The exemptions were linked to the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, to which India has been a key contributor, a role that was recognised and reinforced by president Donald Trump in the South Asia strategy he announced in August 2017, earmarking an expanded role for New Delhi.

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