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US exit from JCPOA will hit its own ME interests: Expert

New Delhi, A leading Indian expert on West Asia affairs believes the US exit from the JCPOA will hurt its own interests in the volatile Middle East region.

In an exclusive interview with IRNA, Shanthie Mariet D'Souza who is the Founder and President of the strategy research forum Mantraya with special focus on Afghanistan expressed that the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and re-imposing its economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic will hit Washington's own strategy in the region including Afghanistan and further deepen the crisis in the country.

On the consequences of the US pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal on its own strategy, she said : No doubt, the recent decision of the US President Donald Trump to exit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will hit America's own strategy to bring peace and stability to the region including Afghanistan which is of interest both for Iran and India.'

She further noted that 'the decision might have implications for the security situation in Afghanistan. It could also derail regional connectivity projects that would affect Afghanistan's trade and transit potential and economic stability. The geopolitical realignment and competition between countries will further complicate the situation adding to the instability.

Commenting on the possible impact of the US decision on India's projects in Afghanistan as a country which lies in Iran's immediate neighborhood, the senior expert on the Afghan and the Middle-East affairs said: It will not have much of an impact on Indian projects inside Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan's search for alternative routes through Iran like the Chabahar port complex could be impacted. The Chabahar port has the potential to increase trade and reduce Afghanistan's dependence on the foreign aid and curtail illicit opium trade which fills the coffers of the Taliban.

Trump's decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran and penalize financial institutions for doing business with Tehran might be clouding Chabahar's viability as banks might be wary in financing it. The joint Iran-India-Afghanistan Chabahar project already was facing certain holdups. Trump's decision on imposing sanctions on Iran may further add to the uncertainty.

On India's possible reaction to the US unilateral sanctions on Iran, Dr. D'Souza said: India has reacted cautiously as it continues to reformulate its delicate balancing act. India's Ministry of External Affairs has already stressed that India has always maintained that the Iranian nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue and diplomacy by respecting Iran's right to peaceful use of nuclear energy as also the international community's strong interest in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program.

India will need to recalibrate its strategy that will require the Indian diplomats to get back to the drawing board. Since Trump has an interest in India playing a greater role in Afghanistan, he might provide some safeguards, the scholar and researcher concluded.

Source: Islamic Republic News Agency - IRNA

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