A U.S. State Department official this week confirmed that operations of Iran’s only oceanic port will continue to be exempted from sanctions, according to a statement from Afghanistan’s foreign ministry.
Alice Wells, the principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, met Monday with H.E. Salahuddin Rabbani, the Afghan foreign minister. During the meeting, Wells told Rabbani that the waiver regarding Chabahar Port is still in effect, the Afghan ministry’s statement said.
The port, located in southeastern Iran, is operated by India state-owned India Ports Global Ltd. The company took control of the port in December 2018; it has an 18-month operational lease, followed by a 10-year contract. The Export-Import Bank of India provided financing.
Chabahar Port serves a strategic purpose for India: It allows the country to bypass Pakistan and expand trade with Afghanistan and Central Asian countries. Part of India’s plan for developing the port is to help with reconstruction in Afghanistan; New Delhi has invested $2 billion in the war-torn country since 2001.