United States exempts India from sanctions at Chabahar port in Iran

Daniel Fowler
November 8, 2018

The United States has exempted India from specific sanctions related to the development of the Chabahar port in Iran and the construction of a railway line linking it with Afghanistan, PTI reported. "The U.S. will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey".

Representatives of India, Afghanistan and Iran met a little more than two weeks ago in New Delhi, despite looming US sanctions, to discuss operationalization of the port, which is seen as key to connect India and Afghanistan to Iran and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

"Since its inauguration a year ago, 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.

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

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The US government re-imposed the sanctions after withdrawing in May from the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, which is more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "We continue negotiations to get all of the nations to zero", said the Secretary of State.

The US announced on Tuesday it has provided for an "exception" from certain sanctions - an exemption, in other words - to the Iranian port of Chabahar that India has developed and used for reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

When asked 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. These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief", the spokesman said. "We seek to build on our close relationships with both the countries as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime's destabilising policies in the region and beyond".

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. 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.

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