US exempts India-backed port in Iran from sanctions

Published: November 7, 2018
The port provides key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan. PHOTO: ONLINE

The port provides key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan. PHOTO: ONLINE

WASHINGTON: The United States said on Tuesday it would exempt Iran’s India-backed port of Chabahar from new sanctions, recognising the value of the project to Afghanistan.

Iran late last 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.

The United States will exempt from sanctions the development of Chabahar along with an attached railway project and Iranian petroleum shipments into Afghanistan, the State Department said.

Pompeo allows sanctions exception for Iran port development

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 spokesperson said.

“This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan,” he said. “These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan’s growth and humanitarian relief.”

The United States, which has been building closer relations with New Delhi since the late 1990s, earlier exempted India from sanctions that took effect on Monday.

The Trump administration has vowed to exert maximum pressure on Iran to end its alleged support for regional allies, exiting a denuclearisation agreement that brought sanctions relief.

US imposes ‘toughest ever’ sanctions on Iran

Trump’s decision has been opposed by European powers as well as other nations including India, which has largely warm relations with Iran.

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

India has seen Chabahar as a key way both to send supplies to Afghanistan and to step up trade with Central Asia as well as Africa.

Iran has plans to link the port by railway to Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • stevenson
    Nov 7, 2018 - 8:43PM

    The exemption which has been extended to 8 countries is only temporary and it will be strictly enforced with the intention that these 8 countries will decrease reliance on Iranian oil. Chabahar Port is sinking along with the Iranian economy. The Iranian Tomaan is almost worthless with 1 dollar being over 150 000 tomaans! It seems that the regime in Iran is going to buckle under the US pressure and collapse.Recommend

  • Rehan
    Nov 7, 2018 - 9:59PM

    This is the duplicity of US policies. We are not surprised, during Gujrat riots, BJP killed thousands of un-armed Muslims. You’ll see similar policies by Europe as well.

    Us is also supporting Indians killing of Kashmiris. Are you surprised?Recommend

  • khaleel ahmed
    Nov 7, 2018 - 10:03PM

    How and Why India is having successful foreign policy ?Recommend

  • Prada
    Nov 8, 2018 - 11:12AM

    Pakistan is no match for India’s worldwide power.Recommend

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