Pompeo allows sanctions exception for Iran port development

India gets US waiver for development of strategic Chabahar Port in Iran

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

Crude's poised for the longest losing streak since 2014 as concerns of a supply crunch eased on a forecast for rising US production and waivers for eight countries allowing temporary import of Iranian oil.

"After extensive consideration, the United States has provided an exception under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act to allow #Afghanistan to continue to import petroleum products from Iran and for shipment of non-sanctionable goods through #Chabahar Port for Afg", tweeted Bass.

A return to oil production cuts by the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies can not be ruled out next year, a senior OPEC source said yesterday.

The State Department reminded the global shipping and insurance industries Wednesday that as part of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure campaign" to get Iran to change its behavior, insuring Iranian tankers will now incur penalties under USA sanctions reinstated this week.

The two countries have started consultations on the matter, state-run Russian news service Tass reported on Wednesday.

With the 180 day grace period coming to an end on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the return of U.S. sanctions on Iran. "These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief".

Representatives of India, Afghanistan and Iran met a little more than two weeks ago in New Delhi, despite looming USA sanctions, to discuss operationalization of the port, which is seen as key to connect India and Afghanistan to Iran and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

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The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nations southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar. 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.

"Knowingly providing these services to sanctioned Iranian shipping companies will result in the imposition of U.S. sanctions", Hook told reporters.

"We are making it abundantly clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior".

"This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan". We have to ensure that we advance our national security objectives without injuring our economic interests.

Zahedan is also in Iran but closer to the Afghanistan border.

India had lobbied the USA privately and publicly for an exemption for the port citing the role it plays in Afghanistan's reconstruction.

Rick Rossow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies said: "Chabahar's role to transport key logistics to Afghanistan will continue to grow over time".

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