How would trade improve disputed ties of Iran, Arab states? (Exclusive)

Business Materials 9 August 2017 18:44 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Aug 8

By Farhad Daneshvar – Trend:

Despite the existing political and religious barriers between Iran and the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf, Shanghai-based strategic consultant believes that Arab countries would consider Tehran as a trade partner in future.

The situation regarding Iran’s ties with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf is definitely complicated, which goes on for a long time and is difficult to resolve.

"One of the things that works in the favor of improving business ties between Iran and the Persian Gulf’s Arab states is that, with the exception of maybe the UAE, every other country in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) is looking to diversify its GDP, so they are moving from an oil based GDP to a more diversified base," Raul Heraud, head of Financial Services at strategic advisory firm Solidiance told Trend.

Saying that Iran could potentially represent an avenue for investment, he added, that its obviously the largest market in terms of population in the Middle East and, therefore, "when you look at the relationship between the Arab states of the Persian Gulf and Iran, in terms of trade as well as business, I would expect that there should be some sort of easing measures."

"We see this with Qatar, which has a closer relationship with Iran, but obviously, that has also put them in ‘hot water’ and that is why Bahrain, Egypt, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are now boycotting Qatar."

Earlier in June Saudi Arabia and its regional allies severed ties with Qatar over Doha’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s oldest Islamist movement, and also its ties with Saudis’ arch-rival Iran, sparking off simmering dispute in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

"But I think that as we move forward and as Iran becomes more solidified into the international arena and, actually we see today when many of the European Union countries say that, regardless of what Trump decides to do – because Trump is talking about re-imposing sanctions and what-not – now Europeans plan to stay as trade partners of Iran and so, I think that Iran becomes more relevant. In the global business scenario the Gulf countries are going to have no choice but to, at the very least, consider Iran as a trade partner."

"It is complicated, I think religious and cultural barriers that exist are quite strong but I do foresee stronger ties particularly between the UAE and Iran," he concluded.