India to resume full-scale trade with Iran

By Andrei Skvarsky.

India plans to resume full-scale trade with Iran, a British business communications agency said, citing a decision by the Indian government that followed the lifting of international anti-Iranian sanctions.

Also, India and Iran plan to settle their outstanding debts through the Asian Clearing Union (ACU), a Tehran-based mechanism for transactions among the central banks of nine Asian countries, London-based agency Sterling Media said in a statement.

The ACU, whose members are the central banks of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, was set up in December 1974 at the initiative of the United Nations.

Sarosh Zaiwalla, the London lawyer who led litigations that resulted in Britain and the European Union quashing sanctions against Bank Mellat, Iran’s largest private lender, said Iran is in the process of opening euro accounts at Indian banks and is ready to reconnect to the SWIFT global banking transaction network.

“India and Iran are now in the final stages of evaluating the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) to increase its oil exports to India and address the issue of the overdue debts between the two countries,” the Sterling Media statement quoted Zaiwalla as saying.

“The Indian government is considering a request from Iranian banks to open branches in India and reactivate their accounts. Iran is ready to reconnect to the SWIFT international payment system to unblock the pending oil payments. Iran is also in the process of opening Euro accounts with Indian banks for easy transfer of payments from the Indian oil companies.”

Zaiwalla’s firm, Zaiwalla & Co., is filing a damages claim of $4bn against the British government for pecuniary losses and reputational damage suffered by Bank Mellat because of the sanctions against it.

Bank Mellat also plans a damage compensation suit against the EU Council.

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