3 Dubai as a Financial Safe Haven
Dubai’s growth as a regional entrepôt has been intrinsically linked to dynamics in Iran for over a century. The number of Iranian merchants and bluecollar workers calling Dubai home has consistently swelled as Persian ports fell out of favor, Iran’s leadership grew unendurable or the local Iranian economy fell deeper into disarray. In recent years as Tehran’s isolation has intensified, Dubai’s relatively liberal regulatory environment, state-of-theart port infrastructure and massive Iranian diaspora have made the Arab emirate Iran’s most significant link to the broader global economy. This relationship has proven to be extremely lucrative not only to Iranian officials, but also to Dubai’s banks, as well as Iranian businessmen in Dubai. This case study delves into these relationships, their benefits and how they may evolve in the near term, highlighting how Dubai’s perfectly legitimate framework for trade and business has allowed the emirate to benefit from restrictive trade regulations imposed by other countries.