Regime’s Downgraded Chabahar Port Highlights Iran’s Dreadful Economy
A contract for investment has been signed by India for more than two years, but the Indians have yet to put it into effect.A quick examination of the size of foreign investments in Iran’s economy reveals the true state of the country’s economy. The fate of the Chabahar port is at the heart of this tale. A contract for investment has been signed by India for more than two years, but the Indians have yet to put it into effect. As a result, none of the regime’s port-related objectives have been met. The Indians have requested that disputes with the regime be resolved through international tribunals, and have refused to allow the regime to use the six-port cranes installed by Indian companies at another port, the Beheshti port.
Rouzbeh Mokhtari, the chairman of the regime’s Shipping Association Board, accused the Indians of buying time, adding that no country or foreign company has shown interest in investing in Iran’s ports. He explained that this is because they are all waiting to see how the regime’s nuclear negotiations turn out.
“The Indian company, even with this amount of green light that it has received for investing in Chabahar port, has still problems in the banking sector, and the fear of sanctions has created a graver situation than the sanctions themselves,” the state-run ILNA news agency wrote in their publication on April 24.
“Although the activity in Chabahar port is not subject to sanctions, the fear of sanctions for international companies has prevented the formation of the necessary determination to fulfill contractual obligations, causing the Indian side to move with caution in the case of the Chabahar port,” they continued. The continuation of sanctions is one of the reasons why the Indian operator has not met its obligations.”
According to ILNA, despite the significant volume of trade with Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asian countries, and the transit of 75,000 tons of wheat through the Beheshti port to Afghanistan in 2020, India has taken no other significant steps to increase ship and cargo traffic in Chabahar, according to published statistics.
As per Indian media reports, New Delhi has yet to provide the $150 million credit line promised for the Beheshti port’s development. The loan to Iran was approved by EXIM Bank in February 2016, but the lender is said to be hesitant to provide the funds due to US sanctions against the regime. More than six years have passed since the signing of the ‘Chabahar Agreement,’ which established transportation and trade corridors between Iran, India, and Afghanistan.
The state-owned company India Ports Global Limited (IPGL), which is managed by India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, was chosen as the operator of Chabahar port after two years of operations at the Beheshti Port, in line with the agreement reached between Iran and India.
Chabahar has been downgraded as a port for the transportation of basic goods and minerals, as well as the container transit statistics, and transit cargoes at this port have been drastically reduced, as the regime desired.
The Indian government recently chose Pakistan over Iran to ship wheat to Afghanistan, and Indian cargo was recently reported to have been sent to Russia via Georgia. Given Russia’s precarious situation, it appeared that this was the best opportunity for the regime to act as a conduit for transit cargo from India to Russia, but this did not happen.