Dubai: Private companies in Dubai remain free to sign deals with Iranian counterparts, including setting up businesses in the country, despite political tensions in the Gulf, the Chairman of Dubai’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Wednesday.

“Business is normal, there is nothing that prohibits companies from Dubai doing business with Iran,” Majid Saif Al Ghurair told reporters at a business forum in Dubai.

The UAE, the Middle East’s second largest economy, downgraded diplomatic ties with Iran following the storming of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran and Consulate in Mashhad in January. The UAE’s decision came after its close ally Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic and economic ties with the Iran after the attack, which has meant Saudi Arabia and the Islamic republic can longer trade goods.

But Dubai’s private companies have not faced any such restrictions, according to the Chamber that represents over 1,000 businesses in the emirate.

“Until now there is no instruction from the government from doing business with Iran,” Al Ghurair said.

A delegation of over 100 businesses from the Abu Dhabi and Dubai chambers visited Iran last year, according to Al Ghurair, who said that business ties are likely to converge following the lifting of sanctions against Iran this year.

“Iran is a population of 80 million, they will be needing a lot of services, they will be needing a lot of goods, historically, the UAE and Dubai have been a main [trading] partner,” he said.