Hours after New Delhi and Tehran signed a 10-year contract to develop and operate a terminal at the Chabahar port, the United States on Monday said that countries considering business deals with Iran run the risk of sanctions.

Washington has imposed sanctions on Tehran in recent months in view of its drone and missile programmes and financing of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, The Hindu reported.

Earlier on Monday, the India Ports Global Limited and Iran’s Port and Maritime Organisation signed a long-term bilateral contract. The deal enables India to operate the Shahid Beheshti terminal at the Chabahar Port in Iran for 10 years.

The contract was signed in the presence of India’s Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mehrdad Bazrpash.

Sonowal said that the agreement not only strengthened links between the two nations but also placed “India’s firm footstep in the global supply chain and maritime sector”.

“This is a realisation of [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi Ji's vision of enhancing global trade by providing an alternate trade route to India for Iran, Afghanistan, Eurasia and Central Asian Republics,” the Union minister said on social media. “India’s operation of Chabahar Port will also be significant in providing humanitarian aid, opening new vistas in fostering peace and stability in the region.”

The India Ports Global Limited is set to invest approximately $120 million, or over Rs 1,002.20 crore, in equipping the port, The Hindu reported, quoting unidentified officials.

New Delhi has also offered a credit window equivalent to USD 250 million for projects that can improve infrastructure related to Chabahar, the officials reportedly said.

Later on Monday, the United States’ Department of State said it was aware of the agreement signed between India and Iran.

“I will let the Government of India speak to its own foreign policy goals vis-a-vis the Chabahar port as well as its own bilateral relationship with Iran,” Vedant Patel, the department of state’s deputy spokesperson, said in response to a question on the deal at a daily press briefing.

He said, however, that the United States’ sanctions on Iran remain in place. “We will continue to enforce them,” said Patel.

He added: “You have heard us say this in a number of instances, that any entity, anyone considering business deals with Iran, they need to be aware of the potential risk that they are opening themselves up to and the potential risk of sanctions.”

India had signed the highly-anticipated deal on the Chabahar port, which lies in a free trade zone, in May 2016. The railway project was between the Iranian railways and the state-owned Indian Railways Construction Limited. It was meant to be part of India’s commitment to the trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan to build an alternate trade route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

The agreement signed between Iran and India on Monday comes in place of the one-year contracts that were being signed to keep the port operational to date, Mint reported.