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Iran Says Chabahar Port Crucial for ‘Completion’ of INSTC

© AFP 2022 / ATTA KENAREA photo taken on February 25, 2019 shows a cargo ship docked at the Shahid Beheshti Port in the southeastern Iranian coastal city of Chabahar, on the Gulf of Oman.
A photo taken on February 25, 2019 shows a cargo ship docked at the Shahid Beheshti Port in the southeastern Iranian coastal city of Chabahar, on the Gulf of Oman. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.11.2022
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Indian investment in Chabahar was affected after the US unilaterally left the Iran Nuclear Deal in 2018 and reimposed economic sanctions on Tehran.
Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Bagheri Kani has said that the development of Chabahar Port is important for the completion of the International North South Transit Corridor (INSTC).
The INSTC is a 7,200-kilometer multimodal network of road, rail and shipping routes to facilitate trade between India and Russia through Iran, Azerbaijan and Central Asian states. The importance of INSTC in boosting regional connectivity and enhancing India-Russia bilateral trade also figured in discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin at an annual summit last December.

An Indian Foreign Ministry readout on a meeting between Iran’s Kani and Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra in Delhi on Friday said that both countries reaffirmed their commitment to continue cooperation on the development of Chabahar Port.

Kani also briefed the Indian side on the progress on the negotiations on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran Nuclear Deal, between Tehran and Russia, US, France, China, UK and Germany.
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New Delhi and Tehran have been jointly developing the Shahid Beheshti terminal at Chabahar since 2016, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi earmarked $500 million for the port’s development during a visit to Tehran.
India’s investment in Chabahar was exempt from Washington’s sanctions. However, many Indian companies were held back from complementing it due to fear of “secondary sanctions”. What's more, Indian companies stopped importing crude from Iran in 2019 amid such fears, although Tehran was previously one of the biggest energy suppliers to Delhi.
With the Biden administration indicating Washington’s willingness to renegotiate the JCPOA, Delhi again stepped up engagement with Tehran on developing the Chabahar Port.

However, officials have said that the arbitration clause relating to settlement of potential dispute that may arise in related contracts has emerged as a sticking point in negotiations. While New Delhi backs any potential dispute being taken to relevant international courts, Tehran has proposed that they be settled under Iranian law in local courts.

India has in principle backed the reinstatement of the JCPOA since the negotiations on it began last year.
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