NEW DELHI : India may face US sanctions if it continues to import crude oil from Iran after 2 May, but New Delhi’s efforts to develop the Chabahar port will not result in any action from the US, two people familiar with the developments said on Tuesday, requesting anonymity.

On Monday, Washington said that it will end exemptions to countries importing oil from Iran.

New Delhi views Chabahar as a strategic investment as it will help India circumvent Pakistan to gain access to Central Asia and Afghanistan.

Following tensions between India and Pakistan, Islamabad has denied permission to New Delhi to send goods to Afghanistan through its territory.

The Chabahar port is about 72km from Pakistan’s Gwadar port, which was developed by China.

Last year, India and Iran had signed a pact to operate the Shahid Beheshti port, which is part of phase 1 of Chabahar. According to the agreement, India Ports Global Ltd (IPGL) has taken over the interim operations at Chabahar for 18 months.

A waiver for India from sanctions on investments in Chabahar was part of the arrangement with the US since 2012.

In 2015, Iran and the international community, including major European nations had signed an agreement, which resulted in the lifting of a majority of sanctions against Tehran for its suspected nuclear programme.

But last year President Donald Trump announced that the US will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and reimpose the sanctions, crippling Iran’s oil imports.

But New Delhi was assured of a waiver from sanctions on its investments in Chabahar, given that Washington has been looking at India to help stabilise Afghanistan economically. There has been no change to this arrangement, one of the two people cited above said.


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