USA exempts India-backed port in Iran from sanctions

  • USA exempts India-backed port in Iran from sanctions

USA exempts India-backed port in Iran from sanctions

The Hindustan Times had earlier reported Chabahar had been possibly given an exemption as it had not figured in the comprehensive list of 700 sanctioned Iranian individuals and entities - 400 from the earlier rounds of sanctions and 300 new - that was published by the USA treasury department on Monday.

The U.S. sanctions had threatened India's ability to obtain financing for the development of Chabahar, which could potentially end Afghanistan's dependence on Pakistan's port of Karachi.

This exemption is in addition to "temporary allotments" - Significant Reduction Exemptions -from sanctions that the United States announced for India and seven major importers of Iranian crude oil on Monday, when the second and final round of sanctions went into effect fully. They include China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.

The United States would be better off rethinking its "unconditional support" for Saudi Arabia and Israel, which has "blinded the USA to their appalling atrocities", Zarif said.

But there was no clarity or response to whether if U.S. was considering waiver for Chabahar and the International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC).

Earlier in the session on Wednesday, oil traded lower as rising US inventories and sanction waivers allowing Iran to keep exporting crude reinforced an outlook for ample supplies. India has committed $500 million to the project and $2 billion to build a railway line from Chabahar to Hajigaj in Afghanistan.

The U.S. State Department says it is exempting Iran's big port project in Chabahar from sanctions in recognition of its importance to landlocked Afghanistan.

Adding that while the "exception" has been granted after much deliberation, the strategic importance of these projects can not be ignored. "These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief", the spokesman said.

The move by the Donald Trump administration is considered as an endorsement by Washington of India's major role in the development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of enormous strategic importance for the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

This comes as a huge diplomatic victory for India.

As an extension to the same, the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), is being hailed as a "game changer".

The U.S. spokesperson said that President Donald Trump's South Asia strategy was focused on economic growth for Afghanistan and a "close partnernship" with India and the U.S seeks to maintain a close relationship with both countries as they pursue a "policy of maximum pressure" against Iran.