TEHRAN: A senior Iranian official has portrayed the Southern Iranian port of Chabahar as the finest option for transit of goods to Afghanistan.
“Chabahar is a better route for transit of commodities to Afghanistan and other countries as compared to ports in Pakistan,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpour said.
Rahimpour also emphasized that Chabahar could play a significant role in expanding cultural relations with other countries and promoting tourism industry by absorbing foreign investments.
In similar remarks earlier this month, a senior Afghan trade official also stressed the importance of Chabahar port.
“Using Chabahar port can have positive effects on the economy of the Afghan people,” Deputy Head of Afghanistan’s Chamber of Commerce Azarakhsh Hafezi said. Pointing to the importance of Chabahar port, he said, “The Afghan government has tried in recent years to make the (Iranian) port of Chabahar one of its biggest import and export centers.”
Azarakhsh reiterated that a recent agreement signed between Iran, Afghanistan and India will turn Chabahar into one of the most important ports and trade hubs for the three countries.
Earlier this year, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Tehran Nasir Ahmad Noor said that Kabul is ready to invest in Iran’s Southern port city of Chabahar. Describing Iran-Afghanistan trade transactions as growing, Ahmad Nour said Kabul is interested in making investments in Chabahar Free Trade Zone.
Afghan Minister of Commerce and Industry Anwar-ul-Haq Ahady has said that Kabul cannot make complete use of Pakistani ports despite trade agreements signed between the two countries. He said that the transport corridor via Iran is the most feasible rail and road route for moving cargo to Afghanistan and to Europe through Central Asia, the Caucasus and Russia.
Iran is located in the international corridor with the Iranian part of the corridor starting in Chabahar in the south and stretching up to the city of Mashhad. Iran’s Chabahar port which is located 72 kilometers west of Pakistan’s Gwader port holds immense strategic and economic significance for India. Chabahar and Gwadar ports are located on a common coast and they are 70 kilometers away from each other.