Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Iran sanctions: US exempts India from some restrictions for Chabahar port

Crude Oil Crude Oil
Jean Garcia | 07 November, 2018, 20:14

"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 May 8, US President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also pledging to re-impose sanctions against Tehran that were lifted under the accord.

Activities related to the development of the Chabahar port in Iran will be exempt from U.S sanctions that kicked in on Monday, following the 180 day cool-off period after the USA withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or "Iran Deal") in May this year.

Futures in NY gained 0.6 per cent. Ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries gathering in Abu Dhabi this weekend will discuss options for 2019 including the scenario of supply curbs, delegates said.

"These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief", the spokesman said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

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.

Earlier, South Korean Ambassador to Tehran Ryu Jeong-hyun said that despite many European companies leaving Iran under the pressure of USA sanctions, South Korean firms understand the significance of the Iranian market and have chosen to stay.

Sanctions targeting Iran's oil, banking and transport sectors came into effect on Monday.

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The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nations southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar. It states that India has a major role in bringing peace and development in Afghanistan.

The Persian version said the United States "will regret this unwise move" and emphasised that the sanctions were aimed at "separating people from each other and from the establishment".

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

"Combined with the importance, this administration places on developing good ties with India, there was a compelling geopolitical case to be made for a waiver", he said.

Asserting that the US' "desperation" was highlighted in their move to include closed companies in the sanctions, Zarif said that the anti-Iran move was mostly criticised and opposed by the global community and that only a handful of nations like Israel and others supported the move.

"Both these decisions demonstrate that the Trump administration values the deep strategic relationship with India".

Meanwhile, US ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said the US has, after extensive consideration, provided an exception under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act.

In the US, industry data were said to show that nationwide crude inventories rose last week, expanding by 7.83 million barrels.

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