top of page

Source: BBC

May 15, 2024

S Jaishankar: India backs port deal with Iran after US caution

India has urged the US not to take a "narrow view" of its port agreement with Iran, a day after Washington warned that countries doing business deals with Tehran risked sanctions.

By Cherylann Mollan, BBC News, Mumbai

On Monday, India signed a 10-year deal with Iran to develop the strategically important Chabahar port.

The US said any country considering business deals with Iran "needs to be aware of the potential risks".

But Delhi has backed the move and said the agreement would benefit the region.

"I think it's a question of communicating, convincing and getting people to understand that this is actually for everyone's benefit.

I don't think people should take a narrow view of it," Foreign Minister S Jaishankar told reporters on Tuesday. He was responding to a question about Washington's remarks on the deal.

Mr Jaishankar added that in the past, the US too had been "appreciative of the fact that Chabahar has a larger relevance" and that a long-term agreement with Iran was necessary to improve the port's operations.

"And the port operation, we believe, will benefit the entire region," he said.

India first entered an agreement to develop the Chabahar port, which is close to Iran's border with Pakistan, in 2016. It took over operations at the end of 2018.

The port opened a transit route for Indian goods and products to Afghanistan and Central Asia, avoiding the land route through Pakistan - neighbours India and Pakistan share a tense relationship.

So far, 2.5m tonnes of wheat and 2,000 tonnes of pulses have been shipped from India to Afghanistan through Chabahar port, officials say.

Under the new deal, India is set to develop the port further by investing about $370 million in the project.

The country's shipping minister called it a "historic moment in India-Iran ties".

But US State Department Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel said on Tuesday in response to a question that Washington would continue to impose sanctions on Iran.

"Any entity, anyone considering business deals with Iran - they need to be aware of the potential risks that they are opening themselves up to and the potential risk of sanctions," Mr Patel added.

A crucial ally of India, Washington has strained ties with Tehran. The country has imposed more than 600 sanctions against Iran-related entities over the past three years.

bottom of page