EghtesadOnline: Iran on Tuesday criticized India for not fulfilling its promise of making investments in the expansion of the strategically located Chabahar Port.
“It is unfortunate that Indian investment promises for the expansion of Chabahar Port and its connectivity projects have not been accomplished. India is expected to take immediate and necessary measures in this regard if its cooperation and engagement in Chabahar Port are of strategic nature,” Iran’s Deputy Ambassador and Charge d’Affaires Masoud Rezvanian Rahaqi said.
Rahaqi was speaking at a seminar on “emerging challenges and opportunities in the global diplomacy and its impact on bilateral ties with India”.
Chabahar Port is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with Central Asian countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to New Delhi, according to Financial Tribune.
In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed a pact that entailed the establishment of a transit and transport corridor among the three countries using Chabahar Port as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation in Iran, besides themultimodal transport of goods and passengers across the three nations.
India is expected to convey to the US the importance of Chabahar Port project, considering that it can be a major link for trade with war-ravaged Afghanistan.
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on June 27 told India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Washington would back his country’s plan to develop the Iranian seaport of Chabahar to open up a trade route to Afghanistan that avoids its arch-rival Pakistan.
“We realize we’re threading a needle when we do that,” said Haley during a visit to India, describing the balancing act of ensuring the Indian use of Iranian port while the US simultaneously attempts to throttle Iran’s economy to force it to renegotiate the nuclear deal, bne IntelliNews reported.
“We know the port has to happen and the US is going to work with India to do that … We know that they’re [India] being a great partner with us in Afghanistan and really trying to assist the US and trying to do more. The port is vital in trying to do that.”
Rahaqi said the US is targeting the whole world: either be its friends and allies or be its rival, calling on the US to abandon its policy of resorting to threats or use of force,” said.
In May, US President Donald Trump announced that the US was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal signed by the previous US administration in 2015, under which Tehran had agreed to limit its nuclear activities and allow international inspectors in return for lifting economic sanctions.
Rahaqi also suggested that a regional dialogue forum should be set up in the Persian Gulf and West Asia to resolve regional crises.
In February, Iran said it had agreed to lease the operational control of Chabahar, located on the Sea of Oman, to India for 18 months.
Indian Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said in June that India is trying to make Chabahar operational by 2019.
Iran’s only oceanic port, Chabahar, dubbed “international gateway” by Iranian officials, consists of two ports: Shahid Kalantari and Shahid Beheshti.
President Hassan Rouhani inaugurated the first phase of Shahid Beheshti Port in the presence of some 70 visiting dignitaries from 17 countries in December.
The opening of the first phase (out of five phases defined for the project) has tripled its capacity to 8.5 million tons (equal to that of all the northern ports of the country) and will allow the docking of super-large container ships (100,000-120,000 DWT) and increase India’s connectivity with Afghanistan.