Date :Sunday, December 9th, 2018 | Time : 00:35 |ID: 80147 | Print

Chabahar’s Inhumane terror attack was aimed at disrupting Iran’s economic development

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SHAFAQNA | by Leila Yazdani : Terrorist attack in the southeastern Iranian port city of Chabahar comes as Iran‘s economy reels in the wake of the United States re-imposing sanctions lifted by Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Chabahar Port has the potential to be an essential economic and strategic corridor, linking India to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The future of the inhabitants of the regions of Central and South Asia as well as the wider Middle East hinges on regional economic integration and the opportunities this may generate.

According to IRNA, the terrorists grown in certain countries and the hubs of violence and extremism in the region today launched another mischievous and inhumane operation in Chabahar economic zone to insinuate insecurity of economic development in cooperation with regional states, aiming to harm economic vibrancy, stability and security on country’s eastern borders.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has condemned a fatal terror attack that targeted Iran’s strategic port city of Chabahar. The top Iranian diplomat took to his Twitter page on Thursday to react to the car bomb attack, which he said was perpetrated by “foreign-backed terrorists”.

Where is Chabahar?

Chabahar is Iran’s only oceanic-port and a coastal city and an ancient trading center that located in Sistan-Baluchestan Province which is of great strategic importance .The port has an area of 187,500 sq km and, sharing a 1,600-km joint border with Pakistan and Afghanistan with a coastal boundary of around 300 km. It is Iran’s only port with direct access to the Indian Ocean. It is Iran’s only deep water port and will be able to handle cargoes of 2,50,000-ton vessels, press tv noticed.

Why the Chabahar port is crucial to regional trade?

Iran‘s official highlighted the special status of Chabahar Port in boosting regional cooperation.

Iran plans to turn the Chabahar port into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and in Central Asia.

The Chabahar Port is 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.

Meanwhile, Rahmdel Bameri, caretaker of the Governor’s Office in Chabahar County, underlined the strategic significance of the city as a free trade zone, which has a deep-water port on the Sea of Oman.

A successive story in the India-Iran relationship

Chabahar is turning out to be a successive story in the India-Iran relationship. India is one of a handful of countries that continued trade links with Iran. Chabahar is also the site of a port complex, which is being developed in cooperation with India as part of a new transportation corridor for landlocked Afghanistan. Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have stressed the strategic importance of developing Chabahar Port for expansion of economic and regional cooperation, mehrnews told.

Chabahar will provide India an alternative and reliable access route into Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. This would also give India access to resource-rich Central Asia and, setup India’s road access to four cities in Afghanistan, New Delhi reported.

India is weighing a rupee-rial payment mechanism

India is weighing a rupee-rial payment mechanism for the Chabahar project in Iran as it weaves a way around the impending sanctions imposed by the US on Iran from 4 November, to kickstart the port that is considered critical to India’s geopolitical and trade interests. India’s bid to start commercial operations at the port has been held up due to banking challenges arising from the fresh round of sanctions imposed by the US, The hindu business line mentioned. “We are trying for a rupee-riyal payment mechanism for Chabahar port project,” Shipping Secretary Gopal Krishna told Business Line. Basically, the guarantees will have to be given in rupees now instead of in dollars or euros,” Gopal Krishna added.

“Given its exemption from US sanctions as well as its strategic location, Chabahar plays a significant part in the development of Sistan-and-Baluchestan Province and the eastern [transportation] corridor,” Bameri said.

Chabahar agreement restore Iran’s economy

The Chabahar agreement has the potential to offset the bottlenecks in Iranian economy and restore it to Post sanctions level. India is trying to make Chabahar Port in Iran operational by 2019 … Opening up of the Chabahar Port would make the CIS countries more accessible.

Reports suggest that the proposed corridor would reduce transportation time by 50% and transportation cost by 60%. Thus, Iran is all set to become a transit hub.

The United States has exempted India from imposition of certain sanctions for the development of the strategically-located Chabahar Port in Iran, along with the construction of the railway line connecting it with Afghanistan, a State Department spokesperson said, Money Control reported.

The decision by the Trump administration, which a day earlier imposed the toughest ever sanctions on Iran and is very restrictive in giving exemptions. “Trump administration made the right move by exempting India for the development of the Chabahar port,” Jeff Smith of the Heritage Foundation told PTI. India, Smith argued, “made a convincing case” that its principal interest in the port was to develop alternative infrastructure links to Afghanistan that bypass Pakistan, which also serves the US national security interests.

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. So this waiver is squarely aligned with the US interests,” he said.

The Chabahar agreement could help offset the ills of sanctions era

The implementation of the Chabahar agreement would make the region a transit hub, since major economic corridors like the International North-South Transport Corridor can also pass through it. This agreement could help offset the ills of sanctions era. Apart from accruing economic benefits, it will also boost Iran’s stature in South Asia as well as the Arab world. It would further diversify Iran’s economic engagements and dilute the quasi monopoly of Chinese and Russian firms on crucial sectors like crude oil and petrochemical production.

China would not appreciate India’s presence in Chabahar

China, an important trading partner of Iran, would also not appreciate India’s presence in Chabahar. But, in Donald Trump’s South Asia policy, India is of significant importance.

Washington considers India as cornerstone of ‘stability’ in the region. Pakistan and China think the US wants to see Delhi’s hegemony in the region.

Thus the US thinks of India’s role in the context of ‘hegemonic stability,’ an important theory of international relations, Tribune mentioned.

Much of Afghan trade has got diverted to Iran

After part of the Chabahar port has been made operational much of Afghan trade has got diverted to Iran. Tehran thinks it could dominate Afghan trade and provide an alternative route of integration of South and Central Asia. This strategy aims at bypassing Pakistan. Tehran may not have overtly opposed Pakistan but it has had its reservations on Islamabad’s role in Afghanistan which it thinks has been against Iranian interest in Afghanistan.

Chabahar has long been a flashpoint, with separatists and extremists carrying out attacks targeting the authorities, Daily Times reported. Sistan-and-Baluchestan — which borders Pakistan — has suffered several terror attacks targeting both civilians and security forces over the past years.

Terror attack that targeted Iran’s strategic port city are meant to destabilize Chabahar, Iran’s largest oceanic port, and disrupt the peaceful and friendly climate in there.

Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi also denounced the “malicious and inhumane terror attack, which he said was aimed at disrupting Iran’s economic development, which is underway in cooperation with regional states.


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