The purchase also contributed to concerns about the Treasury Department possibly allowing Iran access to the US financial system. That change of rules would serve the same purpose that was apparently served by the heavy water purchase, in that it would give European businesses and governments the impression that such purchases and broader economic interactions are indeed allowable in the wake of last summer’s nuclear agreement.
It is possible that we are already seeing the effects of this message. On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Iran’s nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi was visiting the Czech Republic, primarily to discuss prospects for bilateral nuclear cooperation between the two countries.
Regardless of whether this trip is indicative of broader willingness to engage with the Iran nuclear program and assume it to be peaceful, it is certainly part of an ever-growing trend toward greater interchange and cooperation between Iran and various governments that had previously complied with or participated in US-led sanctions.
The president of another US ally, South Korea, visited Tehran on Sunday. Leader Call reported that President Park Ceun-hye was pursuing plans to boost trade with the Islamic Republic by nearly a factor of three, from 6.1 billion dollars per year, to 17.4 billion.
The current annual trade between South Korean and Iran is actually less than the Islamic Republic may receive from India, virtually all at once, as the Asian economic giant seeks to reestablish former trade, including unrestricted access to Iranian oil.
India had largely abided by sanctions restrictions, but is traditionally so dependent upon Iranian oil that international rules allowed for it to take more of the commodity than other participants at the height of economic sanctions.
The Hindustan Times reported on Monday that India was looking to clear 6.5 billion dollars’ worth of oil revenue that it owed to the Islamic Republic under partial payment deferral plans that were in place between the two countries during that period.
Provided that Tehran outlines a payment mechanism that New Delhi finds satisfactory, that debt could be cleared all at once, adding to the benefits that Iran has already accrued from the release of Western-held assets and immediately leading to more commerce between India and Iran, under terms that are much more favorable to the latter than they used to be.