The Indian government has granted permission to an Iranian bank to open a branch in the country. The move comes as Iranian and European leaders struggle to find a way to continue trading in the face of US sanctions.
“The Indian government has given permission for an Iranian bank to open a branch in India in three months,” Minister of Transport and Shipping Nitin Gadkari told reporters on Tuesday. One day previously, Gadkari announced that the Indian government will begin operating part of the Iranian port of Chabahar, strengthening trade links between the two countries.
While Iran’s shipping, oil and banking sectors were targeted by US sanctions – fully reapplied in November, five months after the US unilaterally pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran Deal – India was granted an exemption from the sanctions by the US State Department, on the condition that it works to lessen its imports of Iranian oil.
Save for Italy, Greece, and Turkey, who were also exempted, the US’ European allies haven’t been so fortunate. As such European leaders have spoken of establishing a Special Purpose Vehicle to ensure trade with Iran can continue despite the US sanctions, but little concrete progress towards establishing a SPV has been made.
Speaking in New Delhi, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif referenced the hold-up.
“While we continue to work with Europe on SPV, we are not waiting for them. We are working with our traditional partners like India, China and Russia,” Zarif said.