Iran and the UAE are determined to expand business ties, despite their political disputes, said Farshid FARZANEGAN head of Iran-UAE Chamber of Commerce.
He said: “All spheres of bilateral engagements, including economic ties, are affected by the political climate. Iran and the UAE’s private sectors are trying to help boost economic relations; statistics on four-month foreign trade testify for this statement”.
UAE accuses Tehran of occupying three Emirati islands since 1971 and downgraded ties with Iran in 2016 amid rivalry between UAE ally Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic, which is also targeted by US economic sanctions.
UAE and Iran, which have 70 kilometers apart across the strateg
ic Strait of Hormuz, have maintained diplomatic exchanges and crucially protected their economic ties, generating billions for both sides.
The UAE was Iran’s third export destination in the four-month period to July 21 with 4.62 million tons of non-oil goods worth $1.21 billion and the share of 14% of Iran’s total exports.
UAE was also Iran’s second partner in imports with 1.33 million tons of non-oil goods worth $2.47 billion and the share of 23% data by the Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration show.
“Consumer goods are not the only imports from the UAE; machinery and industrial products, cellphones, computers, laptops, and graphite electrodes that add up to advanced industries are a significant part of imports from the UAE”, Farshid FARZANEGAN was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency. His comments came after the UAE reached a deal toward normalizing ties with Israel.
Anwar GARGASH, UAE minister of state for foreign affairs said the agreement was a “sovereign decision” that was not directed at Iran.
Hassan ROUHANI the President of The Islamic Republic said in reaction to the deal the UAE has made a “huge mistake” in reaching a deal toward normalizing ties with Israel.
Emirates Airlines resumed direct flights to Iran last month.
Israel’s landmark deal with the UAE to normalize ties could see businesses from the Jewish state operating on arch-rival Iran’s doorstep but are unlikely to disturb Emirati economic ties to Iran. Thousands of Iranians are doing business in the UAE.
The experts say that it could also pave the way for direct economic engagement between Israeli and Iranian businesspeople based in UAE that would reap benefits from politics.
Cinzia BIANCO, a research fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said it would be “a while” before Iranians in the UAE come face to face with Israelis. “It is important to stress here that most Iranians with realties in the Islamic Republic were either expelled or moved away in the past years” she added.
“Those who remained in Dubai or the UAE, in general, are the ultra-pragmatic business people, who refuse to get enmeshed in any kind of politics. So, some of them view this deal as an opportunity, not a challenge”.
Ellen R. WALD, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Centre said: “Tehran is not in a position to forego its economic ties with any country — especially not the UAE which is practically next door”.
Trade between the UAE and Iran is worth billions of dollars, with Dubai historically serving as a center for Iranian offshore business.
More than 8000 Iranian companies and 6000 traders operate across the UAE, making it highly likely they will encounter the expected wave of Israeli merchants and investors.
WALD said: “Iranians in the UAE are not in a position to complain about the Israel-UAE relationship, but there is little indication that the typical Iranian would be disturbed by this”.
The UAE is also home to an important Iranian community that owns hundreds of properties and has invested heavily in the infrastructure of the country since its formation in 1971.
Tens of thousands of Iranians live in the UAE while Iranian officials estimate their number to be closer to half a million according to Emirati Media. Many prominent Emirati families are originally from Iran, with some members having public sector jobs.
This article was edited using the data from the En.eghtesadonline.com, Financialtribune.com, and Timesofisrael.com.