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

Mae Love
November 8, 2018

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that United States President Donald Trump's administration will "regret" the newly-imposed sanctions on his country.

"We have made a decision to issue temporary allotments to a handful of countries responsible to the specific circumstances and to ensure a well supplied oil market".

A dozen Iranian tankers have turned off their transponders as a tactic to evade sanctions, US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said in a press briefing. US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo had said these countries have shown significant reduction in oil purchase from Iran.

"After extensive consideration, the secretary has provided for an exception from the imposition of certain sanctions under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) with respect to the development of Chabahar Port and the construction of an associated railway and for the shipment of non-sanctionable goods through the port for Afghanistan's use, as well as Afghanistan's continued imports of Iranian petroleum products", a State Department spokesperson said on background.

"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.

On November 5, the Trump administration had imposed the "toughest-ever" sanctions on Iran's banking, energy and shipping industries, in a move aimed at altering the "behaviour" of the country's regime.

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

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.

The sanctions reimposed on Iran's oil exports - its main revenue source - and financial sector were triggered by US President Donald Trump's May 8 decision to abandon the 2015 worldwide deal created to block Tehran's development of nuclear weapons.

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.

New Delhi has poured $2 billion into development in Afghanistan since the 2001 USA -led overthrow of the Taliban government.

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