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UAE and Iran sign air transport deal

Iran, UAE, foreign ministers, Cape Town Reuters
Iranian foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and UAE foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan
  • Agreement part of wider discussion between foreign ministers
  • UAE was Iran’s top non-oil GCC trade partner in 2022
  • Both countries keen to increase trade over next few years

The UAE has signed an air transport services agreement with Iran as the two countries look to enhance trade and tourism relationships.

The tie-up aims to better organise air transportation and strengthen air connections.

A meeting in Dubai between Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE minister of foreign affairs, and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s minister of foreign affairs, helped seal the deal.

Discussions also looked at how the UAE and Iran can “contribute to enhancing security and stability in the region”, according to a report by the UAE state-owned Wam news agency.

The UAE, which is home to 400,000 Iranian expatriates, has historically been one of Iran’s main trade partners, although the reimposition of sanctions halved bilateral trade to $7 billion in 2019. 

However, according to the latest data released by Iran’s Customs Administration, the UAE was Iran’s top non-oil GCC trade partner in 2022.

Over 20 million tonnes of products were traded worth over $19 billion, up 17 percent on 2021.

A business delegation from Iran visited the UAE earlier this year with a series of meetings held in Abu Dhabi to discuss the potential for closer collaboration in energy, transport and tourism.

In April, trade prospects were raised further when Iran appointed an ambassador to the UAE for the first time since 2016.

According to geopolitical intelligence platform Foreign Brief, both countries are keen to expand the relationship, with ambitions to increase trade to $30 billion by 2025.

Also in April, Iran invited Saudi Arabia’s king, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, to visit the country after the regional rivals agreed to end years of hostility following a China-brokered agreement.

Signed by Iran’s top security official, Ali Shamkhani, and Saudi Arabian national security adviser Musaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, the agreement re-activated a 2001 security cooperation accord, as well as another earlier pact on trade, economy and investment.

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