Iran seeks improved trade ties with India amid sanctions

Hamid Reza Fouladgar

Hamid Reza Fouladgar  

Amid U.S. sanctions, Iran is exploring ways to increase its bilateral trade with India, including expanding banking channels.

“Only one bank (UCO Bank) has business relationship with Iran. We need to expand that,” said Hamid Reza Fouladgar, head of the seven-member Parliamentary delegation from Iran that is visiting India to improve bilateral ties.

“There is need to sign free trade agreements with India to reduce customs and tariffs on both sides to improve bilateral trade,” he added.

“The volume of trade between Iran and India stands between $10 billion and $13 billion, which has tremendous potential for improvement.

“The Iranian Parliament recently ratified an agreement to avoid double taxation between Iran and India,” he said.

Talking about U.S. sanctions, Mr. Fouladgar said, “We are paying the price for our freedom in the form of restrictions and sanctions. This is in spite of the fact that we have fulfilled all our commitments towards the nuclear deal. However, the U.S. continues not to fulfil its commitment.

“The IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] had inspected our facilities 14 times and agreed that Iran had fulfilled all its commitments towards the nuclear deal but the U.S. is now putting pressure on Iran in the name of human rights violations.”

Chabahar Port

Early this year, India had taken over operations of the strategic Chabahar in Iran opening a new strategic route connecting Iran, India, and Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan.

“The Chabahar Port will be helpful for India to access central and west Asia. With Chabahar Port, India and Iran can start luxury ships for tourism, which will take 72 hours. It’s a very inexpensive route compared to [doing it by air]. Chabahar is connected to Tehran through rail. There is a plan to introduce a special tourist train throughout Iran,” Mr. Fouladgar added.

To boost tourism, Iran had started offering stapled visas and e-visas to Indians.

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