United States exempts three Iranian nuclear sites from sanctions

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Iranian Parliament in Tehran Iran

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the Iranian Parliament in Tehran Iran

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.

The move by the Donald Trump administration is considered as an endorsement by Washington of India's major role in the development of the port on the Gulf of Oman, which is of enormous strategic importance for the reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.

The announcement made by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin focussed primarily on the economic pressure built to bring Iranian oil imports to zero and "granted" exemptions to eight countries.

"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.

The spokesperson cited the strategy to say it "underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India".

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

With Pakistan denying India land transit through to reach Afghanistan, New Delhi developed an alternate route through Chabahar port in Iran, which it helped develop partly and also operates now.

"The US will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Turkey. These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief", said the US State Department Spokesperson.

The Persian version said the USA "will regret this unwise move" and emphasised that the sanctions were aimed at "separating people from each other and from the establishment".

The sanctions reimposed on Iran's oil exports - its main revenue source - and financial sector were triggered by US President Donald Trump's May 8 decision to abandon the 2015 worldwide deal created to block Tehran's development of nuclear weapons.

"Both these decisions demonstrate that the Trump administration values the deep strategic relationship with India. Where Chabahar is critical to India's access to and assistance towards ensuring a stable Afghanistan, India's energy needs require a basket of energy suppliers", Pande said. "So this waiver is squarely aligned with the USA interests", he said.

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