The Unites States has excluded the development of the Chabahar Port in Iran from the “maximum-pressure” sanctions against Tehran reimposed on November 5.
The sanctions are targeting Iran’s energy, shipbuilding, shipping, and banking sectors to exert pressure on the country to abandon its nuclear program, development of ballistic missiles and other “malign activities.”
The U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo granted the exception to the port development and the construction of an associated railway 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, a spokesperson for the State Department said in a statement.
The move is aimed at supporting “Afghanistan’s economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India,” the statement reads.
India and Iran entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to develop the Chabahar Port, located outside the Persian Gulf, in May 2016.
Under the deal, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with a capital investment of USD 85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of USD 22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
The port was inaugurated in late 2017.
The Port of Chabahar is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean. It is located in southeastern Iran and has access to both the Oman sea and the Persian (Arabian) Gulf. India helped build the port in the 90ies, as it provides access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.