Iran criticises India for not making promised investments in Chabahar port

Irving Hamilton
July 11, 2018

"It is unfortunate that Indian investment promises for expansion of Chabahar port and its connectivity projects have not been accomplished so far", Press Trust of India quoted Rezvanian Rahaghi as saying.

While the USA wants all countries, India included, to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero, Washington's ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley had said a fortnight ago that the Americans were open to working with New Delhi on Chabahar in view of its strategic importance, particularly with regard to Afghanistan.

Chabahar has strategic significance for India, providing the energy-hungry country with direct access to Iran's abundant oil and gas resources and allowing it to reach Afghanistan and energy-rich Central Asia by land.

In May 2016, India, Iran, and Afghanistan had signed a pact which entailed the establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor using Chabahar port for sea transportation.

Referring to USA sanctions on oil import from Iran, Mr Rahaghi said his country has been a reliable energy partner for India and that Iran always follows a "rationale pricing" of oil which ensures the interest of both consumers and suppliers.

He said these measures helped the Indian government minimise its current account deficit (CAD) considerably because of rupee-denominated oil imports from Iran and curtailing of foreign exchange outflow.

The senior Iranian diplomat said it was important to work together to immunise the relationship between the two countries through adoption of necessary instruments and mechanisms.

Iranian vice president Eshaq Jahangiri acknowledged on Tuesday that USA sanctions would hurt the economy but promised to "sell as much oil as we can" and protect its banking system.

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President Donald Trump said in May he would pull the United States out of an worldwide nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose USA sanctions.

India's state refiners more than doubled their oil imports from Iran in the first quarter of the fiscal year, during which the country lifted 24 percent more Iranian oil from the previous quarter.

Iran's foreign ministry and the central bank have taken measures to facilitate banking operations despite the U.S. sanctions, Jahangiri said without elaborating.

One of the institutes affiliated to the Bank of America, which is regarded as second largest bank in the U.S., announced that if Washington managed to pull down Iran's oil sales to zero level by November, oil price would reach to more than $120 per barrel.

Iranian First Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri announced on Tuesday that the country plans to sell as much oil as it can in face of USA sanctions, Fars news agency reported.

India is also expected to convey to the U.S. the importance of the Chabahar port project considering that it can be a major link for trade with war-ravaged Afghanistan. "So the United States must abandon its policy of resorting to threats or use of force", said Mr Rahaghi.

European powers still support the 2015 deal, under which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear development in exchange for global sanctions relief.

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