An Iranian business delegation is heading for India to explore new avenues of mutual cooperation, concurrent with a visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the South Asian country.
The 50-member mission, led by Yahya Al-e-Eshagh, head of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines, will leave Tehran for New Delhi on Sunday.
Several memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed between the two sides during the Iranian delegation’s six-day trip, which is taking place at the invitation of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and Indian export organizations.
Meanwhile, India, which has publicly rejected Western sanctions against the Islamic Republic, seeks to win a waiver from Washington during Clinton’s two-day visit.
"She (Clinton) might announce a waiver for us," said an Indian official whose name was not mentioned, according to Reuters.
"The Indian government should take up the matter with Hillary Clinton ... it is an infringement of the sovereignty of a nation. We are in the rupee system ... we are not in the US banking system," Shahrukh Khan, a governing body member of the India-Iran Chamber of Commerce and Industry also said.
On December 31, US President Barack Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against Iran's Central Bank in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution.
The US and some of its allies have been accusing Iran of pursuing a military nuclear program.
Tehran rejects the allegation and insists that as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to utilize nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
India is Tehran's second major crude oil customer after China with Iranian oil accounting for about 12 percent of its demand.