Sanctions had no effect on Iran, Afghanistan trade

Tehran, Iran, May 20

Trend:

Afghan official has indicated the US sanctions against Iran did not affect the trade between Kabul and Tehran.

Ahmad Haroun Najm Pour, Afghanistan Embassy supervisor in Iran has discussed the volume of trade between two countries in an interview with Trend.

"Iran and Afghanistan trade rooted in history has not been affected seriously by the sanctions, although it would be better without them. The estimation of Iran-Afghanistan trade is $3 billion per year, with a share of Afghanistan exports to Iran amounting to $40 million. Afghanistan is Iran's fourth trade partner in non-oil exports. At the moment, Iran is considered as the first business partner of Afghanistan replacing Pakistan."

He noted, " Iran is the main transit route for us, especially in the newly established Chabahar port that is exempted from the US sanctions. It is important for various sectors in Afghanistan. The trade ties are good, and more efforts shall be taken to increase exports volume from Afghanistan to Iran and develop economic transaction."

Speaking about import of Afghanistani goods to Iran, he explained, "Afghanistan has various products that are exported across the world. The exports to Iran include marble stone, sesame, sesame oil and herbal shrubs, while Iran exports so many products to Afghanistan."

Answering the question whether it is possible to open Afghan bank branches in Chabahar and commenting on banking relations between two countries, he said, "Iran and Afghanistan governments try to create more options in Chabahar to accelerate the money transfer; opening bank branches would be a big step in this regard."

"The issue of banking is a legal discussion, as most of banks are private and have their own policies in trade with other countries. Afghanistan government only decides over the macro policies, while Afghan banks have direct bilateral ties with banks of other countries. Hopefully, the issue will be resolved soon, so that we can witness development of Chabahar and creating new job places," he added.

Referring to the prospects pf opening Afghan bank branches in Iran, he said, "There is no decision on any specific bank, but the negotiations are underway."

He also talked about recent developments in in Khaf-Herat Railroad. "Iran has promised to inaugurate the railway in next four months before August 23. The railway is to be from Iran to Ghourian region. The fourth phase of the railway will be from Ghourian to city of Herat. The construction has not started yet, and it is expected to be completed with assistance from Italy after the plans are reviewed," he said.

"Launching the railway to Afghanistan would accelerate transportation in the region and reduce costs, given that railway is the cheapest transportation way in the world," he added.

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