Washington: United States Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has approved sanctions exemption for the development of Iran’s Chabahar Port, which is related to Afghanistan’s economic development and reconstruction assistance.
In a statement, a US State Department spokesperson told ANI, “After extensive consideration, the Secretary (Pompeo) 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.”
The spokesperson added that the exception is related to the reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan.
“These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan’s growth and humanitarian relief,” the spokesperson said.
“The President’s South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan’s economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India. We seek to build on our close relationships with both countries as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime’s destabilising policies in the region and beyond,” the spokesperson added.
India considers the Chabahar Port a key strategic asset, giving it access to land-locked Afghanistan while bypassing Pakistan. The sanctions, which came into effect on Monday, had threatened New Delhi’s ability to acquire financing for the port’s development.
The Chabahar Port complex is expected to pave the way for millions of dollars in trade and is being developed as part of a new transportation corridor for land-locked Afghanistan. Both India and Iran had signed an agreement worth USD 85 million to develop the strategic port in south-eastern Iran.
On November 5, the Donald 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.
The US will also penalise countries for importing oil and foreign companies that do business with certain Iranian entities. However, it granted waivers for oil sanctions to eight countries — China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey.