US ignoring its own sanctions waiver extended to India on Chabahar Port

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The US, while warning potential sanctions on any entity having business dealings with Iran after New Delhi-Tehran signed a 10-year contract on Chabahar Port, may have ignored the waiver which it had extended to India on the very port that is India’s gateway to Afghanistan-Central Asia-Eurasia.It is in this context that External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has emphasised that the project will benefit the entire region and people should not take a “narrow view” of it.He pointed out that the US itself had appreciated the larger relevance of Chabahar in the past.Jaishankar was speaking at an interaction after the launch of the Bangla edition of his book ‘Why Bharat Matters’ in Kolkata on Wednesday. On Monday, Jaishankar emphasised it is a deal between India and Iran indicating the sovereign rights of two countries to conclude the deal.The India Ports Global Ltd has been working in Chabahar Port providing cranes and handling cargo since 2018 in the backdrop of the sanctions waiver, sources told ET.On Monday, the US warned that any country having business dealings with Iran runs the “potential risk of sanctions” and noted that it was aware that Tehran and New Delhi had signed a deal concerning the Chabahar Port.Sources recalled that in November 2018, the US had exempted India from certain sanctions for the development of the Chabahar Port and the construction of a railway line connecting it with Afghanistan.India has been careful that it does not involve any sanctioned entity of Iran as part of Chabahar project, sources said, adding that one of the reasons why the 10-year pact took time to complete was because India did not want to violate any legalities.The decision to give an exemption by the then US President Donald Trump’s administration, which had just imposed tough sanctions on Iran, was reportedly seen as a recognition by Washington of India’s role in the development of the Chabahar Port, which was considered to be of strategic importance for the development of Afghanistan.In its statement, the US State Department had then said that after extensive consideration, in November 2018, the administration had granted a narrow exception under section 1244 of the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act of 2012 (IFCA) to allow a limited number of activities that supported the reconstruction and development of Afghanistan.

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