Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has pleaded the U.S. to exempt Kabul-Tehran trade deals from sanctions on Iran as the country heavily relies on the Iranian port of Chabahar to improve its economy.
U.S. President Donald Trump warned today that any country doing business with Iran will not trade with the US as the first set of US sanctions against Iran that had been eased under the landmark nuclear accord went back into effect.
Expressing deep concerns, the MoFA stated that U.S. sanctions on Tehran threatens to derail the lives of Afghan refugees in Iran, Kabul-Tehran trade deals and India, Iran, Afghanistan projects in Chabahar port.
“The Afghan government demand has always been the exemption in Iran’s sanctions. The Kabul-Tehran economic relation that helps development of infrastructures and Afghanistan economic development must be exempted,” Faramarz Tamana, head of MoFA Strategic Studies Center said.
Chabahar is the closest and best access point of Iran to the Indian Ocean and the country has devised serious plans to turn it into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.
According to statistics, Afghanistan is the fourth biggest country for the exports of Iran.
The statistics of Economic Cooperation Organizations of Chamber of Commerce also shows that the value of Iran exports to Afghanistan reaches to more than 2 billion dollars in a year.
“We require bank facilities. Currently, we cannot fund bank transfers to Iran. Because the money blocks in international SWIFT center,” Azrakhsh Hafezi, head of ECOCC added.
The Indian-backed Chabahar port complex in Iran is being developed as part of a new transportation corridor for Afghanistan that could potentially open the way for millions of dollars in trade and cut its dependence on Pakistan.
Afghan businessmen were hopeful that the port at Chabahar would replace Karachi.
In the meantime, economic analysts call on government to work on bilateral agreements to remove Afghanistan reliance on any country.