Dubai: Waiting for a windfall from Iran

Dominic Dudley
Published on:

Can Dubai take advantage of Tehran’s rapprochement with the US to once again become Iran’s de facto financial link to the world?

Along the wharfs of Dubai Creek the dhows are being loaded with cargo just as they have been for generations. Everything from second-hand car tyres to new refrigerators, and from men’s sandals to cases of Vimto fruit juice is stacked high on the dockside.

The stamps on some of the crates and boxes show that they have already travelled long distances, from such places as China and Taiwan, but other goods are sourced from within the region, from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Iraq. What they all have in common is their destination: most of the goods are waiting to make the short trip across the Persian Gulf to Iran.

Dubai has long been a bridge between Iran and the wider world. Over the decades the authorities in the UAE’s second city have welcomed their near-neighbours with open arms, and Iran has responded in kind. Iran’s citizens have bought property...