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US exempts India from certain sanctions for development of strategic Chabahar Port in Iran

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

The has exempted from imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the strategically-located Port in Iran, along with the construction of the railway line connecting it with Afghanistan, a said.

The decision by the Trump administration, which a day earlier imposed the toughest ever sanctions on and is very restrictive in giving exemptions, is a seen as a recognition by of India's major role in the development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of immense strategic importance for the reconstruction of war-torn

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

The US on Monday imposed "the toughest ever" sanctions on a defiant aimed at altering the Iranian regime's "behaviour". The sanctions cover Iran's and sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian imports.

However, of State said that eight countries -- India, China, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, and -- were temporarily allowed to continue buying Iranian as they showed "significant reduction" in purchase from the country.

To a question on the fate of Port after the US reimposed all its sanctions on Iran, the said, "This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief."

In May 2016, India, Iran and inked a pact which entailed establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among the three countries using as one of the regional hubs for in Iran, besides multi-modal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations.

The port in the province on the 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.

The is 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 denied transit access to

Pompeo's decision to give exemption from imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the port is driven by the South Asian strategy, which was announced by in August. It states that India has a major role in bringing peace and development in Afghanistan.

"The president's South strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India," the 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," the spokesperson added.

Reacting to the Trump administration's decision, US experts said it was a "right move".

"made the right move by exempting India for the development of the Chabahar port," of the told

India, Smith argued, "made a convincing case" that its principal interest in the port was to develop links to Afghanistan that bypass Pakistan, which also serves the US national security interests.

"also made clear that it does not support Iran's destabilising activities in the or an Iranian nuclear weapons program, and that any involvement in Chabahar will not advance those two agenda," he said.

Smith said, credibly argued that if it were to abandon development efforts at Chabahar the void would most likely be filled by others, including

"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.

of think-tank said that to give an exemption to India's development of was a welcome decision that comes on the heels of the US granting India - along with a few others - a waiver and temporarily allowing these countries to import oil in reduced quantities from Iran.

"Both these decisions demonstrate that the values the deep strategic relationship with India. It understands India's national security interests. Where Chabahar is critical to India's access to and assistance towards ensuring a stable Afghanistan, India's needs require a basket of suppliers," Pande said.

of the said: "Chabahar's role to transport key logistics to Afghanistan will continue to grow over time. So this waiver is squarely aligned with the US interests," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, November 07 2018. 11:40 IST