A brief look at the extent of foreign investments in Iran’s economy reveals the real situation of the overall economic situation.
At the heart of this story is the fate of the Chabahar port. It has now been more than two years since a contract for investment has been signed by India, but the Indians have not implemented it yet. As a result, none of the regime’s goals for this port have been realized.
The Indians have requested the application of international arbitration to resolve disputes with the regime and did not allow the regime to use the six port cranes installed by Indian companies at another port, called the Beheshti port.
Rouzbeh Mokhtari, the chairman of the regime’s Board of the Shipping Association, accused the Indians of buying time and added that he believes that no country or foreign company has the appetite to invest in Iran’s ports. He stated that the reason for this is that all of them are waiting to analyze the fate of the regime’s nuclear negotiations.
On April 24, the state-run ILNA news agency wrote in their publication, “The Indian company even with this amount of green light that it has received for investing in Chabahar port, has still problems in the banking sector, and the fear of sanctions has created a graver situation than the sanctions itself.”
They added, “Although the activity in Chabahar port is not subject to sanctions, fear of sanctions for international companies has prevented the formation of the necessary determination to fulfill the contractual obligations and has caused the Indian side to move with caution in the case of the Chabahar port. The Indian operator has not fulfilled its obligations, and one of the reasons is the continuation of sanctions.”
As reported by ILNA, according to published statistics, India has not made any other significant steps to increase ship and cargo traffic in Chabahar, despite the significant volume of trade with Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asian countries, in addition to the transit of 75,000 tons of wheat through the Beheshti port to Afghanistan in 2020.
According to the Indian media, New Delhi has not yet provided the promised $150 million credit line for the development of the Beheshti port. In February 2016, the loan to Iran was approved through EXIM Bank, but the lender is said to be reluctant to provide the funds due to problems with US sanctions against the regime.
More than 6 years have passed since the agreement on the establishment of transportation, and trade corridors between Iran, India, and Afghanistan called the ‘Chabahar Agreement’ was signed.
According to the agreement reached between Iran and India, the state-owned company India Ports Global Limited (IPGL), under the management of India’s Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, was selected as the operator of Chabahar port and was scheduled for a 10-year contract after two years of operations at the Beheshti Port.
Now, Chabahar has not only become the transportation and trade corridor between India and Afghanistan and other countries in the region as the regime wished, but it has been downgraded as a port for the transportation of basic goods and minerals and the transit statistics of the container, and transit cargoes at this port have been drastically reduced.
Recently, the Indian government chose Pakistan over Iran to ship its wheat to Afghanistan, and just last week, it was reported that Indian cargo had been sent to Russia via Georgia. Considering Russia’s critical situation at the moment, it seemed like this was the best opportunity for the regime to be a bridge for the transfer of transit cargo from India to Russia, but of course, this did not happen.