The Sri Lanka Tea Board has proposed that the payments due from Iran for tea purchases from Sri Lanka be offset against the $250 million that the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) owes to Tehran for oil – Tehran Times reported. The news paper added that that Tea Board Chairman Lucille Wijewardena has managed to find a loop hole in the US led sanctions. he said “If the CPC pays us, we can continue the export of tea to Iran as there is no ban on this commodity. The amount the CPC owes Iran can offset payment for a year of tea export to Iran”.
India was already taking steps to start dealing with Iran by means of a Rupee-Rial Mechanism. The mechanism can have far reaching impacts both on strategic as well as business levels. With Rupee becoming the standard for investments in Iran, all Indian investments in the country can work unabated irrespective of how the country’s Nuclear deal fares in Washington DC.
As US disrupts business everywhere, this might be the right opportunity for India to position itself as a gateway for trade into Iran. At least for like of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the it could mean cheaper oil while India can counter act Chinese influence with nothing more than few bureaucratic orders. As in case of CPC the invoiceing can be subcratcted by Indian Oil Corporation which will, in any way not replace Iran as its primary supplier.
Then again, Indian diplomatic corps might not even know the opportunity since CPC is not expected to tweet it to either Sushma Swaraj or Modi