US exempts Indian-backed port in Iran from sanctions

A general view of an oil dock is seen from a ship at the port of Kalantari in the city of Chabahar, 300km east of the Strait of Hormuz January 17, 2012. (REUTERS)
Updated 07 November 2018
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US exempts Indian-backed port in Iran from sanctions

  • “This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan. These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan’s growth and humanitarian relief,” the spokesperson said
  • India has poured $2 billion into Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led overthrow of the extremist Taliban regime, which was also opposed by Iran

WASHINGTON: The United States said Tuesday it would exempt Iran’s Indian-backed port of Chabahar from new sanctions on Tehran, recognizing the value of the project to Afghanistan.
Iran late last year inaugurated the port on the Indian Ocean which provides a key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan and allows India to bypass its historic enemy Pakistan.
The United States will exempt from sanctions the development of Chabahar along with an attached railway project and Iranian petroleum shipments into Afghanistan, the State Department said.
President Donald Trump’s “South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan’s economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India,” a State Department spokesperson said.
“This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan. These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan’s growth and humanitarian relief,” the spokesperson said.
The United States, which has been building closer relations with New Delhi since the late 1990s, earlier exempted India from sanctions that took effect on Monday.
The Trump administration has vowed to exert maximum pressure on Iran to end its support for regional proxies, exiting a denuclearization agreement that brought sanctions relief.
Trump’s decision has been opposed by European powers as well as other nations including India, which has largely warm relations with Iran and accuses Pakistan of fomenting attacks on its soil.
India has poured $2 billion into Afghanistan since the 2001 US-led overthrow of the extremist Taliban regime, which was also opposed by Iran.
India has seen Chabahar as a key way both to send supplies to Afghanistan and to step up trade with Central Asia as well as Africa.
Iran has plans to link the port by railway to Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast.


‘Qatar a hospitable base for Muslim Brotherhood,’ says Washington think-tank

Updated 48 min 25 sec ago
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‘Qatar a hospitable base for Muslim Brotherhood,’ says Washington think-tank

  • Qatar’s state-owned news channel Al-Jazeera called out for pushing extremist Islamist ideology, with the Brotherhood playing a “crucial role in programming and setting the editorial line”
  • Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt imposed a diplomatic and economic boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over claims that Doha supports terrorism

DUBAI: Qatar is a hospitable base for the Muslim Brotherhood and many of the world’s most virulent Islamists, a senior member of prominent Washington-based think tank Security Studies Group said in an opinion article published in the Washington Times.

“Qatar has been the Brotherhood’s most hospitable base of operations…Brotherhood Islamism would soon emerge as Qatar’s de-facto state ideology, as the ruling al-Thani family welcomed the Islamists with lavish funding, the highest state honors, and the establishment of new Islamist institutions that would seek to indoctrinate thousands,” the senior vice president for strategic operations, David Reaboi, wrote.

Reaboi also called out Qatar’s state-owned news channel Al-Jazeera for pushing extremist Islamist ideology, with the Brotherhood playing a “crucial role in programming and setting the editorial line.”

“Even as it claims to be a legitimate, journalistic enterprise, Al-Jazeera is an instrument of power projection for the Qatari regime. Its mission has always been to support Qatar and the Brotherhood while attacking its enemies in the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

“In Arabic, Al Jazeera pushes a stream of vile, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, and attempts to rile up religious and extremist Muslims against attempts at positive, human rights reforms in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab states,” he added.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and non-GCC member Egypt imposed a diplomatic and economic boycott on Qatar in June 2017 over claims that Doha supports terrorism.