Iran Reportedly Plans to Open Its Bank Pasargad Branch in India

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Following the 2018 US unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, Washington reimposed sanctions against Iran that target various sectors of the country's economic system, including energy and banking.

Iran will reportedly open a branch of Bank Pasargad of India to boost trade between the two countries amid US sanctions that left Iran without access to international messaging network SWIFT used for communications between banks, according to Mehr News.

Iran’s Ambassador to India, Ali Chegeni, said all necessary preparations for the opening were complete and the bank would "start operations in 2-3 months.”

Bank Pasargad has reportedly received approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to commence commercial banking operations and, after a branch opening, it will allow settling payments for imports done by Iranian firms, according to Mehr News.

Iranian oil is the main commodity traded between Tehran and New Delhi, an average $1 billion worth delivered to India every month. Following the reimposition of US sanctions, India has started to make purchases in rupees that were reportedly used by Iran for paying for commodity and equipment imports, according to Mehr News.

In July, India's Minister of State for External, Affairs V. Muralidharan, while commenting on Modi's statement that the country had reduced oil imports from Iran, noted that there was no specific government-to-government agreement on imports and that relations between the two countries were "not influenced by relations with a third country."

In May, the Indian ambassador to the United States, Harsh Shringla, said that India had ended its imports of Iranian oil and was engaging in discussions to explore alternatives for its oil supply.

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