The U.S. sanctions on Iran have not affected India’s Chabahar port project, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar told Lok Sabha on December 10.

Replying to a question from BSP member Ritesh Pandey, the Minister also clarified that the U.S. sanctions are “not relevant” to India’s Chabahar port project in Iran “at all”.

During the Question Hour, Mr. Pandey sought to know from the government if the U.S. sanctions on Iran had any bearing on India’s project at the Chabahar port and claimed that the Iranian government is “publicly saying that our Chabahar port project has been miserably delayed” due to sanctions imposed by the U.S.”.

The BSP member also claimed that he is “aware” of China trying to work on the project by taking advantage of the U.S. sanctions on Iran as it did “with the rail link”. He also asked the government if it is working on a “solution”.

“I would like to inform the member that [his] assertion is completely inaccurate. This agreement was signed in 2016. We took possession of the terminal in 2018. We have already supplied six cranes. The terminal is fully functional,” Minister Jaishankar said.

“The U.S. sanctions are not relevant to this project at all,” he said in his reply.

In a supplementary question, the BSP member sought to know from the government if India has signed “any backdoor agreement” to continue using the Chabahar port to provide help to central Asian countries and Afghanistan after Taliban took over the control of the Afghanistan government.

“All our agreements on the Chabahar port operations are limited to Iran. Originally, there was a trilateral agreement but that was the basis to set it up. In terms of port operations, we are not required to have any agreement with the government of Afghanistan. And, I assure you that the port is functioning and functioning back,” the External Affairs Minister said in his reply.