USA exempts India from sanctions at Chabahar port in Iran

USA exempts India from sanctions at Chabahar port in Iran

India was, on Monday, among eight countries that received a temporary waiver on U.S sanctions with regard to Iranian oil imports.

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.

With the 180 day grace period coming to an end on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the return of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

On Tuesday, the State Department clarified that Chabahar and an Afghanistan specific railway project (under INSTC) would be kept out of the sanctions for the objective of "development" of Afghanistan.

Iran late past year inaugurated the port on the Indian Ocean which provides a key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan and allows India to bypass its arch-rival Pakistan.

Early on Monday the United States imposed its "toughest ever" sanctions on Iran that it had earlier lifted after the signing of the nuclear agreement in July, 2015 between Tehran and Russia, China, the UK, France, Germany and the US.

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

More news: Rohit hits record ton as India beat West Indies again

"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.

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.

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 US withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or "Iran Deal") in May this year.

With Pakistan denying India land transit through to reach Afghanistan, New Delhi developed an alternate route through Chabahar port in Iran, which it helped develop partly and also operates now. "The U.S. will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey".

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.

New Delhi has poured $2 billion into development in Afghanistan since the 2001 USA -led overthrow of the Taliban government.

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