Kerry Says U.A.E. Trade With Iran Plunges 83% on Sanctions

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said business between the United Arab Emirates and Iran has plunged 83 percent because of international sanctions against the Islamic republic.

“Just today in our conversation I learned that it has gone from some $23 billion in business down to $4 billion,” Kerry said in a news conference with U.A.E. Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi. “That’s a huge sacrifice.”

Iran and world powers failed to reach an agreement to limit the country’s nuclear program during talks in Geneva. Another round of negotiations is set to resume on Nov. 20. The U.A.E. is among U.S. allies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council that oppose allowing Iran to develop nuclear weapons.

Dubai’s state refining company, which buys most of its condensate from Iran, is seeking alternative sources of the fuel to avoid running foul of international sanctions, Chief Executive Officer Saeed Khoory said in April. Direct trade between Iran and Dubai, the U.A.E.’s financial hub, stood at 36 billion dirhams ($9.8 billion) in 2011. The most-traded items that year included food, clothing, rugs, cars and jewelry, according to Dubai Customs.

“We will continue the sanctions regime,” Kerry said. “Our hope is that in the next months we can find an agreement that meets everybody’s standard.”

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