Iran sanctions relief to spur Afghan exports
Two years back, the US imposed economic sanctions on Iran due to its controversial nuclear programme. However, Iran and six world powers clinched a deal on Sunday to curb the nuclear programme in exchange for initial sanctions relief.
According to Obama administration’s estimates, Iran will get as much as $7 billion in relief from economic sanctions over six months under the first-step agreement in Geneva.
In return for Iran limiting its nuclear program, the interim agreement provides for the release of $4.2 billion in frozen oil assets and will let Iran continue exporting fuel at current levels.
Under the accord, certain sanctions on gold and precious metals will also be suspended. Iran’s auto sector and petrochemical exports will fetch about $1.5 billion in revenue.
Khan Jan Alokozai, the deputy chief of the Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ACCI), told Pajhwok Afghan News that sanctions on Iran had caused Afghanistan transit activities different problems. Afghan traders were unable to export their commodities to European countries via Iran’s Bandar Abbas and Chabahar ports, he added.
“Currently, we import our goods through Jeble Ali port, which costs businessmen more. I hope the sanction-easing move will help resolve most of our problems in commerce and trade areas,” he remarked.
He said Afghanistan was importing goods worth $2 million annually from Iran, but the sanctions relief would leave a positive impact on Afghanistan’s imports. Pakistan would also invest in Afghanistan after the easing of the curbs on Tehran, he hoped.
Syed Masood, an economist, believed the new development would expand employment opportunities in Iran, benefitting Afghan refugees living in Tehran. He said three million Afghans were living in Iran. “Iran will create problems for the US if their relations remain strained -- something that ultimately affects Afghanistan.”
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