We have seen numerous examples of how Russia bypassed sanctions by trying various tricks and methods. Similarly, Iran has also been repeatedly bypassing Western sanctions with many such tactics.
You see, Iran is suffering from Western sanctions long before the Russia-Ukraine war. The US had sanctioned Iran back in 2018 after it withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement. This pushed Iran into a difficult position in maritime trading.
This makes it very natural for Iran and Russia to come together to overcome the obstacles caused by Western decisions regarding their foreign trade. And, this is happening with the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project.
The new Suez Canal
Iran and Russia countries are now seeking to accelerate the completion of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) as an alternative to the Egyptian Suez Canal.
Last week, Iran signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia to facilitate financial and commercial transactions between the two countries against the backdrop of Western sanctions imposed on them.
This crossing is a project approved by Russia, India and Iran exactly 20 years ago, and a number of Central Asian and Caucasian countries that were formerly Soviet republics participated in it.
This transport corridor could become more of an exclusive corridor for both Moscow and Tehran. The route will start from the Indian port of Mumbai to the port of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran by sea, and then continue overland by rail to pass through Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia from its Caucasian borders to its northern European borders. The second branch of the project extends from Iran to Russia across the Caspian Sea.
At this point in time, Russia and Iran are looking to accelerate the Caspian sea branch at the earliest. It is to be noted that a study conducted by the Shipping Corporation of India estimated that the crossing would save one-third of the cost and more than half of the duration of going through the Suez Canal. You see, it is inevitable that the project will reduce crossing through the Suez Canal.
No Rules Barred
If one remembers, a month ago, the US and the EU severely restricted Russia’s exporting capacity by blocking shipping insurance for Russian ships. Without insurance, ports refuse to dock the commodities, and even travel is prohibited in canals. This indeed disrupted Russia’s ability to export oil freely, anywhere in the world.
Make no mistake, this new corridor will be circumventing all Western sanctions as the corridor is a pet project of Russia and Iran themselves. This will surely be a major blow to the Western leaders and the insurers who tried their best to restrict the trade of Moscow and Tehran via maritime routes.
Believe it or not, the trial runs have already begun. The first test shipment was sent from St. Petersburg via Iran to Mumbai through this route. The shipment, carried out by the Iranian Shipping Lines Group for a Russian manufacturer, showcases the cooperation between the countries, both benefiting from an alternative north-south transport corridor.
This is enough to demonstrate the extent of the cooperation between the two nations and what they both can gain from a different transportation route. While the Western nations are drowned in their delusion that their sanctions were highly successful, both Russia and Iran are further solidifying their positions with a brand new freight corridor.