Iran calls on Afghan businesses to invest in Chabahar

Shaheed Beheshti Port in Iran’s south-eastern Chabahar Port and Free Zone, partly developed by India, is an important access to free waters for both Iran and landlocked Afghanistan as well as New Delhi that wants to bypass Pakistan.

27 January 2019
ID : 11798
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Afghan businessmen should invest in processing Afghan foodstuffs and raw mineral materials in Iran’s strategic Chabahar Port, that’s been excluded from restored US sanctions, an Iranian official says.

“Facilities and possibilities at Chabahar Port and Free Zone will be given to Afghan investors in any level that they desire,” Abdulrahim Kordi, managing director of Chabahar Free Zone has been cited as saying by the Iranian media.

“Because Afghanistan doesn’t have access to free waters, it should be connected through another country,” added the official, stressing that Chabahar is the “closest and safest route” for the landlocked country.

He reiterated that Afghan investors will be given priority in offering all the transit, import and export services when they invest in the port that’s been developed by India.

Kordi who oversees the operations at Chabahar Port and Free Zone says Afghan companies involved in processing and packaging their country’s agricultural products “are invited to open up their own plants in the port”.

“We are ready to accept terms and conditions of Afghan businesses,” stressed Chabahar Port and Free Zone managing director.

He also called on Afghan businesses to invest in processing raw mineral materials, construction as well as precious stones inside the Chabahar Free Zone. “We propose that Afghan investors bring in their their money and send back the added value to their own country,” added Kordi.

Iran leased the Shaheed Beheshti Port in Chabahar Free Zone to India on a 10-year-contract in a bid to bypass Pakistan and export its commodities to Afghanistan. The country officially took over the operations at the Port last December.

Several cargo shipments were sent to Afghanistan last year from Chabahar.

Chabahar Port and Free Zone’s exemption from “cruel US sanctions” is an opportunity for Afghan businessmen to expand their commercial operations through the port.

The US granted India a waiver to continue developing Chabahar Port after reimposing sanctions on Iran last November.    

“More than India, it’s Afghanistan that wants the contrscution in Chabahar Free Zone finish soon,” said Abdulmateen Qalandari, director of Ghazni Chamber of Commerce and Industries in eastern Afghanistan was cited as saying.

He said Ghazni Chamber is prepared to launch joint investment projects with Iranian businessmen in a bid to produce jointly and export the goods through Chabahar Port.

Qalandari said his government is ready to cooperate in trade and banking sectors and that Kabul can help Iranian businessmen to get the necessary credit for their activities.

He mentioned that Iranian and Afghan businessmen can launch joint ventures in Afghanistan despite the US sanctions. “Such companies can open foreign currency accounts in private Afghan banks and realise their financial transactions through them,” highlighted Qalandari.

Iranian exports to Afghanistan are worth more than 2 billion 850 million dollars, according to the Afghan entrepreneur who expressed hope the bilateral trade volume reach 4 billion dollars.

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