Millennium Post

Iran to India: Reactivate bank accounts, allow Iranian banks

Freed of international sanctions, Iran has asked India to reactivate its accounts with Indian banks and allow Iranian banks to open offices here. Keen to quickly normalise banking and commercial relations with the world, Tehran also wants UCO Bank to open a representative office in Iran, official sources said.

Tehran has already opened an account with IDBI Bank. Iran’s Central Bank last month announced that the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) sanction on the country’s 12 banks was lifted and they are being linked to SWIFT.

Since March 2012, Iran’s banking system had been cut off from SWIFT in a bid to intensify the sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear programme. Central Bank of Iran’s vice governor Gholamali Kamyab has conveyed to Indian authorities that Bank Pasargad and Parsian Bank were keen to open representative offices in India while Saman Bank was interested in opening a subsidiary, they said.

Tehran wants Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Ministry of Finance to reactivate Iranian bank accounts with Indian banks. State Bank of India (SBI) has accounts of 11 Iranian banks including Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

Iran’s proposal to India come close on the heels of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd, a Chinese multinational banking company, and Russia’s Tempbank planning to open branches in the Persian Gulf nation. US last month lifted sanctions against Iran, bringing an influx of world’s corporations keen to do business with the oil and gas rich nation. Sources said Kamyab has conveyed that Iran would help UCO Bank to open a representative office for the help it had extended to Iran during last three years of sanctions.

UCO Bank operated an account of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) that received rupee payment for oil sold to Indian refiners. CBI has also conveyed to India the long standing interest of Bank Pasargad and Parsian Bank to open representative offices in India. Saman Bank was interested in opening a subsidiary, sources said. Last month, the US lifted sanctions on Iran after the UN atomic watchdog confirmed that Tehran has met its nuclear obligations under a landmark deal designed to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. Since February 2013, Indian refiners like Essar Oil and MRPL have been paying 45 per cent of their import bill in rupees to UCO Bank account of Iranian oil company. The remaining has been accumulating, pending finalisation of a payment mechanism.

To settle the pending dues of over $6 billion, Iran wants to re-establish banking relations with India and said that they be cleared in euros within six months.
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