Published: Thu, November 08, 2018
Markets | By Noel Gibbs

United States exempts India-backed port in Iran from sanctions

United States exempts India-backed port in Iran from sanctions

"Since its inauguration past year, 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.

In addition, Afghanistan will be allowed to continue importing Iranian petroleum products, the spokesman said.

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.

India was, on Monday, among eight countries that received a temporary waiver on U.S sanctions with regard to Iranian oil imports.

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The sanctions exception granted to the Chabahar project aims to further USA 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.

"The US administration appears to believe that imposing draconian sanctions on Iran will bring about such pain to our nation that it will force us to submit to its will", Zarif said in a video message, posted in English and Persian. "These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief", the spokesman said.

The spokesperson cited the strategy to say it "underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India".

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

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The sanctions are meant to exert pressure on Iran to renegotiate its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Trump walked away from this year. "The U.S. will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey".

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.

Any return to limiting supply would follow a June decision by the OPEC-led group to relax output curbs in place since 2017, after pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump to cool prices and make up for losses from 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.

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