Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday said that India and Iran should work to expedite rail connectivity to Afghanistan and procurement for the development of Chabahar Port, a seaport in Iran.
One India News reports that Zarif said that India has good relations with Iran and the US and can play a role in bringing the two countries to the negotiating table.
“Chabahar Port is essential for Afghanistan and Central Asia,” Zarif said. “There are several problems and we made several advances...One of them is that our parliament has recently approved the expansion of the free zone.”
Late in December, Indian media reported that the United States had given written assurances to India that it would help facilitate global banks funding the purchase of equipment worth $85 million to be established at Chabahar Port in Iran.
In November 2018, the US granted a waiver from the sanctions it has imposed on Iran for activities related to the port.
But Zarif on Friday said that the problem in the project's progress is that India has found difficulty procuring the required equipment for the port, despite exemption from sanctions.
“The other issue is connecting Chabahar to Afghanistan and to Central Asia through rail. We need to complete the Chabahar-Zahedan rail network. We have the infrastructure for that, but we need rails,” Zarif said.
He noted that Iran is discussing this matter with India.
The Chabahar port is located in the Sistan-Baluchistan Province on Iran’s South-eastern coast (outside the Persian Gulf) and is of strategic importance for the development of regional maritime transit traffic to Afghanistan and Central Asia.