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.


Spanish PM visits Morocco to boost migration cooperation

Updated 19 November 2018
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Spanish PM visits Morocco to boost migration cooperation

  • Spain has this year become the main entry point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the majority departing from Morocco

RABAT: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Monday made his first official visit to Morocco, where he pushed for greater cooperation between the two countries on tackling migration.
Spain has this year become the main entry point for migrants crossing the Mediterranean, the majority departing from Morocco.
“Migration is a shared responsibility and we must reinforce our cooperation in this area,” Sanchez said following talks with his Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine el Othmani.
More than 50,000 migrants have crossed into Spain so far this year, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Madrid has for months been pressing the European Union to unlock funds for Morocco to better tackle people smuggling into the bloc.
Throughout the year, numerous Spanish ministers and officials have traveled to Rabat to discuss security issues and migration.
Sanchez was accompanied by a government delegation for his first visit to the North African nation since taking office in June.
Othmani said Morocco was doing “all that is in its power regarding the fight against illegal immigration.”
Moroccan authorities say that between January and the end of September they stopped some 68,000 illegal attempts to cross into Europe and dismantled 122 people smuggling gangs.
“The migration question is complex and it cannot be resolved solely through a security approach, despite its importance, it’s necessary to favor the development of departure countries in Africa,” said Othmani.
Many seeking to reach Europe are from sub-Saharan Africa, but in recent years there has been an increasing number of Moroccans seeking to leave the country.
While the majority of migrants have taken the perilous sea journey in rubber dinghies, others have scaled fences into the Spanish territories of Ceuta and Melilla which border Morocco.