For the Iranian regime, August is the beginning of the renewed sanctions by the U.S. While Iran has yet to face the oil industry sanctions, which are set to be enacted at the beginning of November, they are attempting to salvage any possible deals with other countries and companies as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) appears to be dead in the water.
There seems to be evidence that companies fear getting on the bad side of the U.S. and so they are pulling out of Iran ahead of the impeding sanctions to avoid incurring penalties. However, Iran is trying to keep those deals in place.
Iran offers port to Indian company
For instance, Iran is following through on an agreement that would give control of the Port of Chabahar to an Indian company for a month.
“Now, we are ready just to handover the port (Chabahar) to the Indian company just to operate this in interim agreement that already we had with Indian part for one and half year,” said Abbas Akhoundi, the Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development. “We have already moved one step forward…We should introduce a banking channel to India which we already did and fortunately has been formally accepted by the Indian side.”
The port is easily accessible from India’s western coast and is seen as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is about 80 km from Chabahar. Under the agreement, Indian is to equip and operate two berths in the port’s phase 1 with capital investment of $85.21 million.
Gateway to trade with India
The agreement related to this port is seen as an opportunity to grow a trade relationship with India, despite the fact that India risks U.S. sanctions and is considered a key ally of the Trump administration.
Iran is also receiving an infusion of capital to build up areas of its infrastructure, which is meant to keep the country moving forward in building up its exports. However, with the sanctions coming into force, the Iranian minister admitted that they hope to continue their oil trade with India.
“At the end of the day, both sides will find out some way out to carryon their relationship as we hear from the Indian part that they are already committed to buy the crude oil and we are also committed to continue our trade relationship with India and buy rice and other food material and also industrial material from the Indian side,” said Akhoundi.
The sanctions set to take effect in November will block payment methods, making it even more difficult for Iran to sell its crude oil on the international market.