‘Chabahar port not rival to Gwadar’: Iran says Pak, China welcome

  • IANS, Islamabad
  • Updated: May 27, 2016 19:54 IST
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, right, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, centre, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hold hands in a show of solidarity after their trilateral meeting and signing agreements at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran on May 23, 2016. (AP file photo)

The Iranian ambassador to Pakistan on Friday said the Chabahar port agreement between Iran, India and Afghanistan is “not finished” and “not limited to these three countries”, in an attempt to ease tensions over the agreement.

Speaking on Pakistan-Iran relations, Mehdi Honerdoost, Iranian ambassador to Pakistan, according to Dawn online, revealed that the offer to cooperate had first been extended to Pakistan and then China, implying neither had expressed interest.

The ambassador added that both are sister ports, and Chabahar port authorities would extend cooperation to Gwadar.

“The deal is not finished. We are waiting for new members. Pakistan, our brotherly neighbours, and China, a great partner of the Iranians and a good friend of Pakistan, are both welcome,” said the envoy.

“India was a good friend during the sanctions, the only country to import oil from us during sanctions.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Monday signed a three-way transit agreement on Iran’s southern port of Chabahar.

India said it will invest up to $500 million in a deal to develop a strategic port in Iran and both countries planned a number of projects they say are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

The development of the Chabahar port expands a trade route for the land-locked countries of central Asia bypassing Pakistan, and represents a missed opportunity for Pakistan as post-sanctions Iran opens up.

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