Iran draws sting from oil prices

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

"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.

India has invested heavily in developing Chabahar, which provides strategic access not just to Iran but Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

The United States is warning other countries not to allow Iranian oil tankers into their ports, saying the tankers not only could incur penalties under USA sanctions but may be courting "environmental disaster".

US sanctions had been lifted under the auspices of the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA or, more simply, the Iran nuclear deal) negotiated by the Obama administration along with China, France, Russia, the U.K., Germany, and the European Union.

The sanctions, however, threatened India's ability to obtain financing for the development of Chabahar, which could potentially open the way for millions of dollars of trade for land-locked Afghanistan and end its dependence on Pakistan's port of Karachi. "These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief".

"I gave some countries a break on the oil". United States sanctions could end up squeezing Iranian output so much that other producers won't need to cut. It states that India has a major role in bringing peace and development in Afghanistan.

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"We seek to build on our close relationships with both the countries as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime's destabilising policies in the region and beyond", the spokesperson added.

"Trump administration made the right move by exempting India for the development of the Chabahar port", Jeff Smith of the Heritage Foundation told PTI.

While Iranian oil exports are expected to fall because of US sanctions that took effect on October 5, reports from OPEC and other forecasters have indicated that the global market could see a 2019 supply surplus as demand slows.

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 U.S. national security interests.

Then there's the small matter of American production growing at the fastest rate in a century, just as fuel demand is at risk from the slowdown in emerging economies and the U.S.

The exemptions were linked to the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, to which India has been a key contributor, a role that was recognised and reinforced by president Donald Trump in the South Asia strategy he announced in August 2017, earmarking an expanded role for New Delhi. "So this waiver is squarely aligned with the U.S. interests", he said.

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