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The sanctions cover Iran's banking and energy sectors and reinstate penalties for countries and companies in Europe, Asia and elsewhere that do not halt Iranian oil imports. Each of those countries has already demonstrated significant reductions of the purchase of Iranian crude over the past six months, and indeed two of those eight have already completely ended imports of Iranian crude and will not resume as long as the sanctions regime remains in place.

The US has exempted three Iranian nuclear sites from sanctions, but warned that they will be under strict scrutiny, the State Department said.

With the 180 day grace period coming to an end on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced the return of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

"Since its inauguration previous year, we have shipped about 110 thousand metric tons of much-needed wheat and 2,000 metric tons of pulses from India to Afghanistan through this port", Indian foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale had said at a conference in New Delhi Delhi last week.

The State Department said it was carving exemptions from its sanctions on Iran's economy for the development of Chabahar along with an attached railway project and Iranian petroleum shipments to Afghanistan.

A convinced United States administration told India Today, "The President's South Asia strategy underscores our ongoing support of Afghanistan's economic growth and development as well as our close partnership with India. These activities are vital for the ongoing support of Afghanistan's growth and humanitarian relief".

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Iran has plans to link the port by railway to Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast. "The U.S. will be granting these exemptions to China, India, Italy, Greece, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Turkey".

The port provides key supply route to landlocked Afghanistan.

New Delhi has poured $2 billion into development in Afghanistan since the 2001 US -led overthrow of the Taliban government.

Meanwhile, US ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass said the US has, after extensive consideration, provided an exception under the Iran Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act.

Asserting that the US' "desperation" was highlighted in their move to include closed companies in the sanctions, Zarif said that the anti-Iran move was mostly criticised and opposed by the worldwide community and that only a handful of nations like Israel and others supported the move.


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