Upon the completion of the five phases of Shahid Beheshti development project, which also includes a railroad (Chabahar-Zahedan) to connect to the International North-South Transportation Corridor, the port's capacity will reach 85 million tons and that would improve Iran's transit services and facilitate trade between Europe and Central Asia through Iran. Chabahar provides India an easier land-sea route to Afghanistan.
So why is Chabahar a key project for India?
In the president's words, the inauguration of the first phase of Shahid Beheshti Port marks a historic day for Iran, particularly for the people of Chabahar, IRNA reported.
Asked whether Iran is prepared for the USA to return to sanctions, Mohammad Rastad, Iran's Deputy Transport Minister in ports and maritime affairs, said: "Nothing's happened as yet, has it?"
Iranian officials have noted the fact that other signatories to the nuclear deal - China, Russia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France - still stand by it.
Chabahar Port Opens, Connects India to Afghanistan via Iran
■ India can now bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan. It also ended India pampering Pakistan for issuing transit licenses for venturing into the landlocked country via Pakistani soil.
The inauguration comes at a time when Pakistan is blocking access between India and Afghanistan. The shipment is to be taken by trucks to Afghanistan from Chabahar. India had already tested the waters over a month ago when it sent a consignment of wheat to Afghanistan by sea through the Chabahar port, marking the opening of the new strategic transit route.
In a major step forward, the first phase of Iran's Chabahar port, which holds significant strategic and economic importance for India, was launched on Sunday.
He said Iran also plans to link the port to the country's railroad network to facilitate transit of goods to neighboring landlocked Central Asian countries, as well as open a route to eastern and northern Europe through Russian Federation. Recently, however, the INSTC project has moved forward with sanctions lifted off Tehran and the 2016 India-Iran pact on Chabahar port―which will likely be tapped as a second, or alternative, to the route via Bandar Abbas. And with India steadily improving ties with East Asian countries, this may end up becoming a new global trade route that will counter the China-led Belt and Road initiative.
They announced they would organize a connectivity event involving all stakeholders at Chabahar at the earliest so as to increase awareness about the new opportunities offered by the Port. In 2015, it was announced that the Gwadar port city and port would be further developed under CPEC at a cost of $1.62 billion, with the aim of linking northern Pakistan and western China to the deep-water seaport.