Pres. Rouhani: Chabahar Port development, major step in linking countries in region

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TEHRAN, Jun. 10 (MNA) – In a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Iranian President Rouhani stressed the significance of Chabahar Port for fostering transit routes and linking countries in the region.

In the meeting with the President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani on Saturday in China before the SCO Summit, President Hassan Rouhani voiced Iran's readiness to help establish and sustain peace, as well as to fight terrorism in Afghanistan.

"The Iranian nation has always stood by the Afghan nation in the past 40 years and, as two neighbouring countries on friendly terms, we enjoy common culture, security and business interests," he added.

Rouhani welcomed further development of relations between the two countries in political, economic, security, and cultural fields, saying "the development of Chabahr Port is a major step in fostering transit routes and linking the countries of the region, including Central Asia to the Persian Gulf."

On deepening economic cooperation and private sectors of the two countries, Rouhani said "Khaaf-Herat Railroad is another developmental project in this region, for the progress of which political and economic groundwork must be laid."

He then referred to the US unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, saying "the US unlawful move to withdraw from the JCPOA is not merely an exit from a 7-party agreement, but a violation of UNSC resolution."

President Rouhani also welcomed Afghan President's wise move to declare cease-fire in the country, saying "we hope that internal dialogue can lead to more development and stability in Afghanistan."

"By cooperating with each other and other countries of the region, we should fight drug production and smuggling, which is a big problem for the entire region," continued Rouhani.

President Ashraf Ghani, for his part, said "Afghanistan considers the continuation and development of cooperation with Iran in line with its national interests."

Expressing that Afghanistan is cooperating with India on the development of the Chabahar Port, he said "development of Chabahar Port is important not only for Iran, Afghanistan and India, but also for developing China-Central Asia relations."

"We hope that with the support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is our great neighbour and important partner in the region, the process of establishing security and progress in Afghanistan will continue," he maintained.

The Afghan president also voiced his country's readiness to to fully cooperate with Iran in combatting drug trafficking.

"Our operations against ISIL terrorist group will continue and it is not a part of the new cease-fire with the Taliban," he stressed.

Tehran plans to use Chabahar for transhipment to Afghanistan and Central Asia. The Iranian port also provides India with an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan.