USA exempts three Iranian nuclear sites from sanctions

Crude Oil

The sanctions, however, threatened India's ability to obtain financing for the development of Chabahar, which could potentially open the way for millions of dollars of trade for land-locked Afghanistan and end its dependence on Pakistan's port of Karachi.

The US on Monday imposed "the toughest ever" sanctions on a defiant Iran aimed at altering the Iranian regime's "behaviour".

The move by the Donald Trump administration is considered as an endorsement by Washington of India's major role in the development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of vast strategic importance for the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan. That would mark an abrupt end to six months of output increases, reflecting the prospect that US sanctions on Iran won't be deep enough to prevent another surge of American shale oil creating a new surplus.

Iran has plans to link the port by railway through Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast, near the borders with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

Iran late a year ago inaugurated the port on the Indian Ocean, which is being built largely by India and is expected to provide a key supply route for Afghanistan while allowing India to bypass rival Pakistan to trade with Central Asia and Africa. "These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief".

India was among the eight countries that were granted temporary waiver for purchase of Iranian oil.

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The foreign minister further stated that while previous US Presidents have also displayed "disrespectful attitudes" towards Iran, they have eventually changed their stance, and said the Trump administration will have to do the same. It is also considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries after Pakistan denied transit access to India.

"Combined with the importance, this administration places on developing good ties with India, there was a compelling geopolitical case to be made for a waiver", he said.

Trump's decision has been opposed by European powers as well as other nations including India, which has largely warm relations with Iran. This administration doesn't consider its own national interests; it only serves a small group.

The exemptions were linked to the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, to which India has been a key contributor, a role that was recognised and reinforced by president Donald Trump in the South Asia strategy he announced in August 2017, earmarking an expanded role for New Delhi.

Chabahar and INSTC are important strategic projects for India and Afghanistan. "So this waiver is squarely aligned with the USA interests", he said.

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