Afghan envoy highlights Chabahar role in regional interaction

IRNA – Afghanistan’s Ambassador to Iran Nasir Ahmad Nour highlighted the prime role of Iran’s port city of Chabahar in promoting regional interaction.

The Ambassador made the remarks in an exclusive interview with IRNA where, commenting on the impact of US anti-Iran sanctions on the relations between Iran and Afghanistan like those related to Chabahar, he pointed out that Chabahar project has been exempted from US sanctions.

He said Chabahar will play an outstanding role in enhancing regional interactions in future as regional countries are determined to turn it into an important hub.

Noting that the agreement to develop the port as a joint project was signed by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and his Afghan counterpart President Ashraf Ghani as well as the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi May 21, 2016, he said over 100,000 tons of wheat have been transported from India to Afghanistan via Chabahar.

Underlining the importance of Chabahar port for his country, Nour said that both Afghan government and its private sector are interested in activating the port.

Many regional countries especially in the Central Asia are looking forward to getting a similar opportunity with the port, he reiterated.

The agreement is certainly a point of main interest for Iran, he said, adding that India also as an economic superpower in the region and the world is investing hope on Chabahar.

He called on Iran to pay more attention to Chabahar to make it into an export-import port.

Referring to the long history of US hostility towards Iran, Nour commented on any probable impact of such policies on Iran-Afghanistan relations, stressing that US presence and its strategic ties Afghanistan has had no effect in Tehran-Kabul relations.

Terming Iran as a top exporter to Afghanistan, he urged Iranian government and the private sector to maintain and enhance relations with his country to supply high-quality goods.

According to IRNA, some 120,000 tons of commodities were transited to Afghanistan from southeastern Iranian Port of Chabahar over the past 14 months.
Deputy head of Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran, Mohammad-Ali Hassanzadeh said that the shipments to the Port of Chabahar, mostly wheat and cereal, are loaded in four Indian ports.

Referring to a meeting on ways to implement Chabahar Agreement, he said that determining the transportation corridors and agreeing on executive protocols on port, road and customs areas were among the main achievements of the trilateral meeting of Iran, India and Afghanistan.

It is rare in Iran and the entire region that a port can render both transit and transshipment services at the same time, Hassanzadeh said, adding that having the shortest distance with Asia-Europe shipping line and bordering with Afghanistan, Chabahar Port enjoys an exemplary position enabling it to render both transit and transshipment services.

Based on statistics, India trades nearly 15 million tons of commodities with Russia and commonwealth of independent states (CIS), part of which is expected to be transited via the Port of Chabahar, the official said.

With the completion of the first phase of development plan of Chabahar Port, the capacity of this port grew from 2.5 to 8.5 million tons a year so that it plays a significant role in transit of commodities from India to Afghanistan.