DUBAI // For decades, Dubai Creek has been a hub of activity as traders bring in goods and sell their wares at the bustling markets nearby.
Even today, laden dhows can be seen unloading items to be sold at the Spice Market, on the Deira side of the saltwater Creek, and other souqs around the city.
Most of these dhows’ captains are Bangladeshis and Pakistanis but, in a country with the world’s second-largest Iranian diaspora behind the United States, the Persian people historically had a lot of involvement in trade on the Creek.
Dubai was built either side of this waterway and Bur Dubai, to the south, and Deira, to the north, still play host to many Iranians, who have often diversified their businesses beyond that of dhow trading, partly because of the years of crippling western sanctions against their homeland.
Now though, after a nuclear deal was struck this week between western powers and Iran, sanctions will be eased, much to the pleasure of Iranians at Dubai Creek.
Mahmoud Abbasi, 42, owner of a mini-market and tourism company, said the deal was a positive step towards Iran re-establishing international relations.
“I am very happy with the news because it will allow Iranians to deal more comfortably with other nations, and I love my country just as much as I love Dubai,” said Mr Abbasi, who was born and raised in the UAE.
“My family is here in the emirate, but we still have relatives in Iran who don’t want to be against anyone and are very peaceful.” Mr Abbasi said that, thankfully, his business has not suffered from the sanctions.
The deal is expected to curb Iran’s nuclear programme and impose strict United Nations inspections so any move by Iran to enrich nuclear weapons grade materials would be next to impossible.
In return, sanctions choking Iran’s oil exports and the economy of the 78 million-strong country will be gradually lifted.
It should also have a knock-on effect for the UAE, which is the second-largest trade partner with Iran, after China.
In fact, Dubai shares rose by their highest level in more than a month on the last day of trading before the end of Ramadan, as investors digested the news of the nuclear deal. “There has been good news from Greece and particularly Iran, as well as some positive quarterly results, so sentiment has been good,” said Khaldoun Jaradat, the trading manager at Brokerage House Securities in Dubai.
Farzani Shumayli, who moved from Iran to Dubai nine years ago, said she would be very happy if sanctions were lifted.
“We are very happy in Dubai and we don’t feel the pressure of sanctions but I think people who are still living in Iran will be relieved,” she said.
“We don’t feel it because we are comfortable but the people in Iran are tired.”
Amine Mohamad, a clerk at a fabrics store, agreed and saidd that his 35 years’ living in the UAE meant that sanctions had little effect on him personally.
“It is good, lifting of sanctions will bring more business to Iran,” he said.
Meanwhile, Hassan Gholan Reza, 30, who runs a home products shop, said: “I run this store with my father and I was born and raised in the UAE.
“I think it would be good to lift sanctions and Iranians can better deal with countries and banks, but I have never felt that pressure because I have lived here my whole life.”
Mohsen Ali, 48, and his son Masoul also said the deal was a good step forward, adding: “We have been in Dubai for more than 30 years and it is all very good here but what the future holds, only God knows.”
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(via The National)