Landlocked Tajikistan's interest, as evinced by Foreign Minister Sirodjidin Mukhriddin Aslov during his visit to Iran last week, in connecting to the sea trade route through Chabahar port is set to help both Iran and India in sustaining the operation of the port, and is a diplomatic victory for Tehran amid heightened tensions with the US.
Trade only to/with Afghanistan via Chabahar can sustain the cost of operating Chabahar. Also, Tajikistan needs Chabahar for trade and transit with Gulf countries and India. Through Chabaha, Tajikistan top exports — cotton and dry fruits — can find new markets in Gulf and India, says Behrooz Aghaei, Director General of Ports, Maritime Organization of Sistan and Baluchistan province, in whose jurisdiction Chabahar port falls.. Chabahar is the best option for Tajikistan compared to other Iranian ports due to its exemption from US sanctions.
Moreover, in absence of clarity on the sanctions waiver for Chabahar, Iran is looking to test if the waiver is only for trade to Afghanistan or holds true in general. If this gambit pays off, Iran can shift its trade from Bandar Abbas to Chabahar for all who are willing to employ Iranian ships dock to sell its goods.