Iran injects $1bn into Chabahar port

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In October, India sent its first consignment of wheat to Afghanistan through Chabahar, located about 140 km (88 miles) from Pakistan's Gwadar port, which is now being developed with Chinese help.

The inauguration of the first phase of the port, known as the Shahid Beheshti port, is likely to be attended by President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Minister of State for Finance and Shipping R. Ponniah Ayyappan Radhakrishnan.

Meanwhile, the Gulf of Oman and the Chabahar port on the eastern shore of the Makran Sea as a strategic port of call to this corridor will play an important role in exchanging goods to the east of the country and the eastern and central Asian neighbors.

The $340 million project was constructed by a Revolutionary Guard-affiliated company, Khatam al-Anbia, the largest Iranian contractor of government construction projects.

It brings the capacity of the port to 8.5 million tonnes of cargo annually, from the previous 2.5 million tonnes. In recent years, we saw certain elements trying to portray Gwadar and Chabahar as rival ports but it is a matter of satisfaction that Pakistan negated this image by declaring Chabahar as the sister port of Gwadar.

According to IRNA news agency, Rouhani said: "We are happy that the first wheat shipment for Afghanistan has been sent to the country's people via the Iranian port". "We should go after positive competition", he said.

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He said Iran also plans to link the port to the country's railroad network to facilitate transit of goods to neighboring landlocked Central Asian countries, as well as open a route to eastern and northern Europe through Russian Federation.

With Chabahar port being developed and operated by India, it could be used as a point from where humanitarian operations could be coordinated, should the need arise.

India has contracted to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.

Iran has opened a $1 billion extension of its southeastern Chabahar port, in a bid to help the country become a key transit route to land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia.

Chabahar also has an global airport and Iran's Navy and Air Force have bases in the city, adding to the ports value.

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