Iran: Chabahar Port Promise And Nuclear Deal Threat

Iran: Chabahar Port Promise And Nuclear Deal Threat

On Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani officially inaugurated the southeastern port in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province with great fanfare as officials from 17 countries attended a ceremony marking the opening of a new extension of the strategic trade corridor.

As per reports from the MEA (Ministry Of External Affairs), at present ministers from all the three countries i.e. India, Afghanistan, and Iran have agreed to further intensify cooperation on better connectivity, and development of Chabahar Port and a meeting of senior officials for the discussions is expected soon.

Just a day before the historic inauguration, EAM Sushma Swaraj made a surprise stopover at Iran on her way back from Russian Federation and met with her counterpart Javed Zarif.

India has committed to the $500 million to the Chabahar port.

The inking of the port deal had caused tensions between Tehran and Islamabad at the time.

India's quest to find a direct route to Afghanistan and beyond by bypassing Pakistan seems to be answered with the identification of Chabahar as its strategic gateway.

Pakistan now does not allow India to transport goods through its territory to Afghanistan because of hostility in their ties.

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With the huge investment, a full-fledged operation of the port is likely to ramp up trade between India Iran and Afghanistan and give it a strong entry into the central Asian markets. Besides bilateral issues, Swaraj and Zarif are understood to have had discussions on regional and political developments in the Gulf region.

Rohani, however, downplayed the rivalry in his speech at the bridge's inauguration and said the port would bring "more engagement and unity" among regional countries. And last month, New Delhi shipped its first cargo of wheat to Afghanistan through the Iranian port, part of 130,000 tons that India plans to export to Afghanistan.

They announced they would organize a connectivity event involving all stakeholders at Chabahar at the earliest so as to increase awareness about the new opportunities offered by the Port.

Swaraj said India remains committed to working closely with its regional and global partners to restore peace, security, stability and prosperity to Afghanistan.

After connecting Chabahar to Zahedan, the railroad will be linked to Zaranj in Afghanistan.

"Chabahar should also have road, rail and airport to be all set for imports and exports", he added. Both the port development pact and the connectivity agreement were signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Tehran in May a year ago.

First of all, the new port will allow India to counter the blockade created by Pakistan.

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