Publishe Date: 1:29 PM - 5/17/2016 | Print

India says paying debts to Iran ‘still hard’

Politics - Indian officials say the country is still having problems making payments to Iran to settle debts pertaining to previous oil purchases.

Unnamed officials have told The Hindu that the European banks are still reluctant to proceed with transferring payments to Iran as a result of the sanctions.

They say this has obstructed efforts to clear all debts to Iran before the next week visit to Tehran by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“We are trying our best to conclude the agreement during the week,” an official said, adding “We would have liked to transfer at least some part of our outstanding dues to Iran, before the PM’s historic visit.”

The settlement of India’s debts to Iran is among a slew of announcements that the two countries hope to make during Modi’s first visit to Teheran on May 22-23.

While the other agreements are on track, officials in New Delhi say it is the hunt for the repayment channel to Iran that is keeping them on tenterhooks, The Hindu added.

New Delhi has repeatedly said it is keen to pay back Iran the $6.5 billion, most of it for oil transactions.

Several European banks including the Danske bank of Denmark, Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH) of Germany, Central Bank of Italy and Halkbank of Turkey have already been designated to carry out the related transactions.

Indian officials have told The Hindu that the country is pushing for the US to convince UK banks to allow the deal for $6.5 billion to be processed as a “one-off” transaction, even as they work on finding more permanent channels of doing business with Iran.

“It is ironic that four years ago, it was US pressure that made us slash oil imports from Iran, and now it is the US that has to ensure that we can do business with Iran,” a senior official said.

Tags: India -
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