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Chairman Of Iran-UAE Chamber Denies Reports Of Halt in Trade

Shahid Rajaiee port, Hormozgan Province of Iran, is only hours away from the UAE by boat. Undated Photo.
Shahid Rajaiee port, Hormozgan Province of Iran, is only hours away from the UAE by boat. Undated Photo.

The Chairman of Iran-UAE Chamber of Commerce on June 10 refuted reports of a standstill in trade between the two Persian Gulf neighbors.

On Tuesday Iranian hardliner Jam-e Jam newspaper claimed that the United Arab Emirates has resumed its trade with other countries but has halted trade with Iran.

In a tweet on Wednesday Farshid Farzanegan said the UAE has informed all incoming ships they are required to submit health certificates for coronavirus 72 hours before arrival. "Halt or break of trade relations between Iran and the UAE as claimed by some news agencies is baseless," he wrote.

"Many businessmen whose cargo from other countries went to Dubai before being transported to Iran, have not been able to travel to Dubai for a few months to arrange for the transport of their commodities," the paper had reported and added: "Shortage of [certain] commodities in the market indicates that maritime trade with Dubai is not happening now".

Despite the UAE's less-than-friendly foreign policy towards Tehran, the country remained Iran's biggest trade partner after China, even after the reintroduction of U.S. sanctions on Iran. Billions of dollars of imports passed through the Middle East's business and financial hub.

Fars News Agency last week quoted an official of Iran's Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) as saying that maritime trade between Iran and the UAE, halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, has resumed.

The official said exports from Iran to the small Arab State will be done according to the new health guidelines and protocols. However, he mentioned the problem of the UAE demand that all food – normally transported in large boats – be transported in chilled containers.

Local cargo boats (launch, lenj in Persian) can take as little as three hours to reach Dubai from Iranian ports but most of them cannot accommodate chilled facilities.

Several billion dollars of imported goods destined for Iran passed through Dubai every year. However, the UAE has not published any statistics for trade with Tehran in 2019 and this year.

The UAE also shipped oil from Iran. In March the United States sanctioned five UAE-based companies for allegedly shipping oil from Iran in defiance of U.S. sanctions.