Dubai: Iran’s Hong Kong

An interesting article in Terra Daily recently, comparing Dubai’s current & cultural associations with Iran to that which Hong Kong historically played for China (before the mainland opened up).   As the article notes, Dubai “…is to Iran’s theocracy what British-ruled Hong Kong was to China’s Communist overlords — a gigantic entrepot.”  Given the similarity, it may be constructive to think of how the Hong Kong/China relationship evolved over time and think forward to Iran.  As the report further details:

“…some 500,000 Iranians are residents of the United Arab Emirates; 400,000 in Dubai alone out of a population of more than 2 million. Many of them immigrated after the Iranian revolution when the Shah was overthrown, planning to continue to Europe and North America. But many were also taken by the relaxed Dubai lifestyle and incentives offered new residents. Iranian investments in Dubai recently topped $350 billion. Some 7,500 Iranian-owned companies operate out of Dubai….

…Some of Dubai’s districts are known as “Little Tehran.” Iranians have their own clubs and Iranian restaurants do a thriving business throughout the Emirates. Little understood among those advocating tighter economic sanctions against Iran is that the United Arab Emirates is Iran’s first trading partner. Iran imports more than $10 billion from the United Arab Emirates and orders many embargoed items with documents that guarantee Dubai as their final destination. Heavy equipment, machines, mobile phones, auto parts, communication systems are all legal commerce.

Earlier this year the U.S. government gave the United Arab Emirates a list of a number of Iranian companies that it considers “bogus” that seek to violate the U.S. embargo on Tehran. Ties between the two sides of the Gulf in Dubai are tighter than between the city-state and Washington.

Dubai is to Iran’s theocracy what British-ruled Hong Kong was to China’s Communist overlords — a gigantic entrepot. Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce map of its trading relations runs South-South, from Morocco to Indonesia, thus erasing the traditional North-South divide between rich and poor….”

This entry was posted on Sunday, December 30th, 2007 at 2:08 pm and is filed under Dubai, Iran.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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