U.S. exempts three Iranian nuclear sites from sanctions

Egypt's Sisi says new sanctions on Iran are 'destabilising'

Egypt's Sisi says new sanctions on Iran are 'destabilising'

South Korea and Iran have agreed to switch to national currencies in trade exchanges as the sides aim to strengthen relations despite the U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

"The US administration appears to believe that imposing draconian sanctions on Iran will bring about such pain to our nation that it will force us to submit to its will", Zarif said in a video message, posted in English and Persian. "These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief", said the US State Department Spokesperson.

Iran has plans to link the port by railway through Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast, near the borders with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.

The sanctions reimposed on Iran's oil exports - its main revenue source - and financial sector were triggered by US President Donald Trump's May 8 decision to abandon the 2015 global deal created to block Tehran's development of nuclear weapons.

The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province in the energy-rich nation's southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.

President Donald Trump's "South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India", a State Department spokesperson said.

The sanctions exception granted to the Chabahar project aims to further USA ties with Afghanistan and India "as we execute a policy of maximum pressure to change the Iranian regime's destabilizing policies in the region and beyond", the State Department spokesman said. It is also considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with central Asian countries besides ramping up trade among the three countries after Pakistan denied transit access to India.

"Everyone must respect Arab national security, especially that of the Gulf", he added.

"This exception relates to reconstruction assistance and economic development for Afghanistan".

India had lobbied the U.S. privately and publicly for an exemption for the port citing the role it plays in Afghanistan's reconstruction. "So this waiver is squarely aligned with the USA interests", he said.