TEHRAN (Press TV) - A major Indian trade bank has significantly expanded its operations meant to circumvent U.S. sanctions against Iran, a report by an Indian newspaper shows.
The Hindu Business Line said in report that the UCO bank had increased the number of its branches engaged in business with Iran from 22 to 67, a surge of more than three times.
The branches are especially designated to facilitate trade with Iran as the country struggles with sanctions imposed by Washington which restrict its ability to trade in major international currencies.
"As many as 14 Iranian banks have opened Indian Rupee Vostro Account with UCO Bank,” said UCO Bank Managing Director Atul Kumar Goel, adding, "Whenever we import oil, the money is paid by the oil companies in India and credited to this account. That bank will send this Indian rupee to the bank in Iran and the payment to the exporter will be made in Iranian rial.”
The mechanism will also help Indian exporters to continue to trade with Iran. Speaking on the sidelines of an exporters’ meeting in Coimbatore, in southern India, Goel said export opportunities to Iran are huge and exporters could use the designated branches of the UCO for any help they need.
"All payments are in Indian currency and no foreign currency is involved. UCO Bank acts as an agent of the Iranian Bank while making the payment,” he said.
The official said that the UCO was linking its more than 3,000 branches to a processing center which would further help exporters in their business with Iran, adding, "This could take another six-seven months.”
India has been under immense pressure from the U.S. to cut its oil imports from Iran to zero. New Delhi has largely resisted the pressure while trying to find solutions to keep the business with Tehran smooth and running.