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U.S. Should Be Wise Enough Not To Impose Sanctions On India: Iran Envoy Exclusive On Chabahar Deal

Dr Iraj Elahi, Iran's Ambassador to India in an exclusive interview

The Iran-India Chabahar deal and U.S. sanctions waiver

“I think the United States is wise to not put itself (against) many countries who are going to use this(Chabahar)route as the best route.” Dr Iraj Elahi, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to India tells StratNews Global’s Amitabh P. Revi in this exclusive interaction. The envoy adds, “The U.S., I think will not do anything. I hope that at least they are wise enough. Besides, India is a good friend of the USA. And their relations are increasing and intensifying. So what does it mean if the U.S. imposes sanctions against India, which is a close strategic partner? If it does that, it means the U.S. is not reliable for anyone. If it is reliable, it should at least, consider the benefit and interest of its partner.”

India signed a long-term deal with Iran this week to build and operate the Chabahar port. India Ports Global Limited will equip and operate the port for 10 years to begin with. Hours after India inked the deal, a spokesperson of the U.S. State Department warned firms doing business with Iran that they risked U.S. sanctions. At a daily briefing, Vedant Patel said, “You’ve heard us say this in a number of instances. That any entity, anyone considering business deals with Iran, they need to be aware of the potential risk that they are opening themselves up to and the potential risk of sanctions.” When asked specifically whether there would be an exemption for Chabahar, he point-blank said, “No.”

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Iran-India Chabahar deal and U.S. sanctions
But in 2018, the U.S. had made an exception with respect to Chabahar. The State Department had said it was exempting certain sanctions concerning the development of Chabahar Port and its associated railway, as well as the transport of non-sanctionable goods for Afghanistan’s use, citing the importance of reconstruction and economic development.

The Iranian envoy in India, Dr Elahi also speaks about the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) from Southeast Asia to Europe. He also addresses questions on Afghanistan, the road and rail network in Iran and, Gwadar as China’s access point to the Indian Ocean. Dr Elahi speaks about the Indian crew onboard the seized merchant ship Aries. The Ambassador also talks about the retaliation against Israel killing a top IRGC commander in Damascus and the danger of a widening of the conflict. And Israel’s action in Gaza and Rafah, rapprochement with Saudi Arabia and, Iran’s nuclear programme. Watch the complete exclusive interview for more.