India has reportedly agreed to pay Tehran in gold for the oil it buys, in a move aimed at protecting Delhi from US-sanctions targeting countries who trade with Iran. China, another buyer of Iranian oil, may follow Delhi’s lead.
The report, by the Israeli-based news website DEBKAfile, states that Iran and India are negotiating backup alternatives with China and Russia, should the US and EU find a way to block the gold payment mechanism.
Delhi’s move is seen as surprising, as earlier India and Iran said they would switch to yen and rupees. China, another major importer of Iranian oil, may follow Delhi’s lead, the report adds.
India and China need to switch from the dollar in bilateral trade, since the US and EU have issued unilateral sanctions against the Iranian oil industry and financial institutions. The sanctions would ban any bank involved in oil trade with Iran from dealing with American and European counterparts.
Both India and China, two major buyers of Iranian oil accounting for 22 and 13 percent of its total export respectively, have refused to join such sanctions. This means they have to establish a reliable way of paying for crude, independently of the parts of the global financial system controlled by New York and London.
Delhi’s current plan is to effect payments through two state-owned banks, India’s UCO Bank and Turkey’s Halk Bankasi, Turkey being another country refusing to join the sanction spree.