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Iran plans changes to draft deal with India on Chabahar port operations: MP

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran has yet to sign a 10-year deal to award terminal operations to India in Chabahar port.

An Iranian parliament lawmaker says a draft deal with India on terminal operations in the southeastern port of Cahabahar is expected to change so that the two countries can agree on a dispute settlement mechanism in the contract.

Mohammad Reza Rezayi Kouchi, who chairs the Iranian parliament’s Construction Committee, said on Saturday that the 10-year deal with India on running the Shahaid Beheshti terminal in Chabahar port will be signed between the two countries once changes to the draft agreement are ratified in the parliament.

“The two sides have agreed on these changes and there remains only the issue of formalities,” Rezayi Kouchi was quoted as saying by the semi-official ILNA news agency.

The lawmaker said that the Indian company involved in the agreement will be represented with a new name under the revised deal, adding that a local partner company that has been working with the Indians in Chabahar will be removed from the agreement.

India has committed to $85 million worth of investment on six cranes and other equipment before it starts running the Shahid Beheshti terminal in Chabahar, Iran’s only ocean port on the Sea of Oman.

Iranian officials say Indians have fulfilled only a third of their investment pledges in the port by supplying the six cranes although reports suggest that the rest of the equipment will be delivered to the port before March next year.

Rezayi Kouchi said that India’s activity in Chabahar had dropped to almost zero on recent weeks mainly because of rising tensions in Afghanistan which has led to closure of border crossings with Iran. He said increased activity in the rival port of Gwadar in neighboring Pakistan was also to blame.

The lawmaker added the Shahid Kalantari Complex, the other major terminal in Chabahar which is run by Iranian contractors, have continued to process Iranian basic goods cargoes in the meantime.

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