1246 GMT June 17, 2019
Zarif made the remarks speaking to IRNA upon arrival in the Iranian southeastern port city of Chabahar on Thursday.
Chabahar can help the development of the region and neighboring countries, including Pakistan and Afghanistan, Zarif said.
He noted that the capacities of Chabahar can contribute to the development, stability and security of the region.
“Development of Chabahar can play a key role in development of railway connection of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan and help bring closer together the Iranian allies,” Zarif said, adding that “The Foreign Ministry will make every effort to make use of the opportunities of Chabahar.”
The deputy chairman of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries said on May 11 that India’s first export shipment to Afghanistan has arrived at Iran’s Chabahar port.
“Around 500 tons of rice, which were bought from India, has arrived in Chabahar this week. Exports have also started through Chabahar,” Khan Jan Alokozay said.
Chabahar is the closest and best access point of Iran to the Indian Ocean and Iran has devised serious plans to turn it into a transit hub for immediate access to markets in the northern part of the Indian Ocean and Central Asia.
The governments of Iran, Afghanistan, and India in May 2016 signed the Chabahar agreement, which is a regional transport network initiative.
It aims to create a reliable transport corridor for the smooth transport and transit of goods and services through Chabahar port between the three countries.
Earlier in March, the Indian operator India Global Ports Limited (IGPL) of Chabahar announced that it was planning to invest $500 million over the next 10 years in the port.
The representative of the Iranian partner of the IGPL, Alireza Jahan, said that the Indian Joint operator of Chabahar port is committed to investing $500 million over the next 10 years to equip the port of Chabahar with special loading and unloading harbor machinery.
Jahan said when Chabahar-Milak and Qazvin-Rasht railways are connected to Iran’s national railway network, Chabahar port will have a bigger share in the Asian transportation market.
The IGPL has been tasked with administering and running the terminal of the first phase of ‘Beheshti harbor’ at Chabahar port in southeastern Iran.
The IGPL also officially is in charge of navigation in the port of Chabahar from last January, with $85 million investment.
Supplying the equipment for development of the port by the Indian company was also on the meeting’s agenda.
In January, India’s Shipping Ministry officially announced that the country has officially taken over the Chabahar port during the Trilateral Agreement meeting in the port on December 24, 2018.
“The government of India took over the operations of a part of Shahid Beheshti port, Chabahar, in Iran during the Chabahar Trilateral Agreement meeting held there on December 24, 2018,” the Shipping Ministry said in a statement.
The heads of Indian, Iranian and Afghani delegations jointly inaugurated the office of the Indian SPV – India Ports Global Chabahar Free Zone (IPGCFZ) at Chabahar.
“The physical takeover of the terminal area, cargo handling equipment and office building was completed by December 29, 2018,” the statement said.
“This step marks the beginning of a long journey. India has written a history with its engagement in Chabahar and is now leading the regional cooperation and joint efforts to support land-locked Afghanistan. This is the first time India will be operating a port outside its territories,” the Indian government’s statement said.
The statement added that the challenges facing the contract between Iran and India were resolved through a formal short-term contract between the two sides, which was signed on May 6, 2018, during the visit of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to New Delhi.