Chahbahar-Zahedan rail link: Iran’s insistence on roping in a specific entity put deal off track

Chahbahar-Zahedan rail link Iran's insistence on roping in a specific entity put deal off track
 Chahbahar-Zahedan rail link: Iran’s insistence on roping in a specific entity put deal off track




India’s problem with Iran on the Chahbahar-Zahedan rail link is latter’s insistence on ensuring the civil works contract goes to Khatam al-Anbiya constructions, an entity belonging to Iran’s proscribed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).


These entities are under secondary sanctions by the US, which means companies who deal with them could also come under scrutiny, face restrictions and may even have their assets frozen.


Now, India does have a waiver from the US to go ahead with the development of the port as well as the railway line.


But in doing so, India cannot involve sanctioned entities in the project.


So, India asked Iran in December 2019 that must nominate another entity, one which is not proscribed. Iran, according to the South Block, gave no replacement.

It’s important note that Khatam al-Anbiya is not just any IRGC entity but one of its key construction arms, which has been involved building activity at nuclear sites.


And IRCON, which had done the feasibility and identified the alignment, could not be exposed to this risk.

From an Indian standpoint, a railway line – regardless of who builds it – must come up because it will help move larger quantities of freight from the Afghan border.


There already is a road connecting the port to Zahedan, which is how 8200 containers have moved through this port since December 2018.


In the past year alone, 52 vessels were handled at the port. These are not big numbers but better than what Indian authorities had anticipated.


The real roadblock for Iran is American sanctions. Much as the proposed China-Iran deal is being touted, the fact remains that no Chinese entity has yet openly flouted the US sanctions regime.


Now, many Chinese entities have worked below the radar to supply dual use items for the nuclear programmes in Iran, North Korea and Pakistan but have never done so overtly.



Read More


Also Read: Iran’s Zarif arrives in Iraq to pressure Baghdad to stay in Iran’s orbit

Latest news
Related news