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Concerns Rise over Chabahar Port as U.S. to Re-impose Sanctions on Iran

(Last Updated On: May 21, 2018)

The Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI) says the United States sanctions on Iran will have negative impacts on Chabahar – a new transportation corridor for land-locked Afghanistan.

The Indian-backed Chabahar port in Iran is being developed that could potentially open the way for millions of dollars in trade and cut Afghanistan’s dependence on Pakistan.

Building Afghanistan’s economy would also slash Kabul’s dependence on foreign aid and put a major dent in the illicit opium trade, the Taliban’s main revenue source.

But Trump’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran and penalise financial institutions for doing business with Tehran is clouding Chabahar’s viability as banks, nervous they could be hit with crippling penalties, pull back from financing.

“We have been in talks with Iran and India so that we could increase exports through this [corridor], but the sanctions may leave unpleasant impacts,” said Khanjan Alokozai, the acting head of ACCI.

Some economic analysts also stressed tensions between great powers in the region will have negative outcomes on Afghanistan economy.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries’ spokesman Musafer Qaqandi, however, said that the government has opened air corridors for exporting commercial products to global markets, adding that they are preserving national interests in every step taking forward.

The join Iran-India-Afghanistan Chabahar project was launched in 2016. But the port is yet to see significant traffic apart from some containers of donated wheat from India, and the first shipments of Afghan dried fruit to India last year.

With Inputs from Reuters

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