Iran Delays Proposal to Release Funds for Chabahar Port
Govt officials say Tehran yet to submit plan despite reminders but Iran says India holding up project
Even reminders from EXIM Bank to Iran have not helped,” a person familiar with the matter told ET. “There are apparently no reasons behind Iran’s delay in submitting the proposal for the release of loan,” the person alleged. As per the memorandum of understanding ( MoU) signed during shipping minister Nitin Gadkari’s visit to Tehran in May 2015, EXIM Bank is to extend $150 million line of credit for development of port complex. Another $85 million was allotted lat- er following contract between the two sides for supply of equipment to develop two berths in the port complex, persons familiar with the development told ET.
They said India had offered to release first portion of the line of credit within four months of the Iranian proposal on the port expansion and development plan, but the proposal has yet to come.
Iranian government sources, however, told ET that the Indian side is delaying work on the project, but did not explain reasons for delay.
The project was earlier delayed when the Iranian side unilaterally changed terms and conditions on the eve of the signing of MoU in 2015 by introducing a local stakeholder without consulting India, Indian sources said. China had expressed interest to join the project prior to the nuclear deal in mid-2015. Indian shipping ministry has created a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for Chabahar port development, which is currently shortlisting Indian fir ms to deter mine equipment suppliers for port construction. Ports and Management Organisation (PMO) is Iran’s nodal authority to implement the project.
Officials said India is not unduly perturbed over impact of US sanctions on Iran’s missile programme.
“The sanctions are not targeting Iran’s PMO that is in charge of Chabahar Port. However, the government here is keeping a close watch if other sectors are being targeted, which might impact IndoIranian economic partnership,” said a person who requested not to be identified.
The MoU was signed during Gadkari’s visit to Tehran in May 2015