With news coming in that the Trump administration has imposed its “toughest ever” sanctions against Iran, New Delhi has managed to convince Washington the importance of the Chabahar port and is one of the eight countries including US allies India, Italy, Japan and South Korea to have been exempted by the Trump administration to continue importing Iranian oil.
According to experts, the sanctions waiver from the US for allowing India to carry on buying oil from Iran was expected. Both countries India and Iran have already decided to bypass sanction by trading in local currencies
Sources told FE Online that in the last few months there have been several rounds of talks with the between the India and the US officials related to the sanctions to be imposed by the US over Iran. We have listed out our concerns and informed them that the there has been a decrease in the oil import from Iran.”
“India has a major relationship with Iran in the region. The sanctions are expected to have a global impact. And we have let the US side know the importance of the Chabahar Port which is located in Iran,” the source added.
Earlier today, sharing his views, Dr Rajan Kumar, Associate Professor, School of International Studies, JNU, said, “India is likely to get the sanction waiver from the US on the issue of crude oil import from Iran. It is not in the strategic interest of India to stop importing oil from Iran. The price of oil will shoot up and our relationship will Tehran will also get affected.”
The US imposed unilateral sanctions on Russia, Iran and North Korea to protect its own national interest. India should also be assertive in securing its own interests, said the associate professor.
“India is developing the Chabahar port in Iran and the North South Transport Corridor also passes through Iran. These projects will be affected. US had no choice but to exempt India from the sanctions,” Kumar pointed out.
In Sept this year at the first ever India-US 2+2 dialogue, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had discussed about the importance of the Chabahar port in Iran and the North South Transport Corridor that helps in connecting the landlocked Afghanistan with the rest of the world.
Both sides had reaffirmed their shared commitment to a united, sovereign, democratic, inclusive, stable, prosperous, and peaceful Afghanistan. In a joint statement issued at the end of the dialogue, the US acknowledged India’s longstanding and ongoing contributions of economic assistance to Afghanistan and also welcomed India’s enhanced role in Afghanistan’s development and stabilization.
Recently, India, Afghanistan and Iran had their first trilateral meeting on Chabahar port project to review its implementation. It was a critical meeting as the strategically-located port on the energy-rich Iran’s southern coast was coming under the ambit of US sanctions on Tehran.
According to MEA, the full operationalisation of trilateral Chabahar initiative is expected to promote connectivity and economic development of Afghanistan and the region. The three countries in May 2016 had inked an agreement which entailed establishment of a transit and transport corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs. The Chabahar port is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries.
Last week, according to media reports, Pompeo said the exemptions on importing Iranian oil were being granted to countries that have pledged to or have already cut back on purchases of petroleum from Iran, which has long depended on crude exports to power its economy.
The US on Monday has re-imposed all sanctions removed under the 2015 nuclear deal, targeting both Iran and states that trade with it. This includes 700 individuals, entities, vessels and aircraft on the sanctions list, including major banks, oil exporters and shipping companies.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has vowed to sell his country’s oil and break the sanctions and the country’s military has said that it would hold air defence drills to prove the country’s capabilities.
The UK, Germany and France – which are among the five countries still committed to the nuclear pact – have all objected to the sanctions.