Iran will become the biggest country to re-join the global economy since post-Communist Eastern Europe in the early 1990s. Iran has been given enormous breathing space with the framework for a deal being agreed on. It has been frozen out of the international banking system, and foreign trade has been meagre due to sanctions. The resulting boom has the potential to create billions of dollars worth of business for local and foreign companies and shift the economic balance in the Gulf, which has so far been heavily weighted towards the rich Gulf Arab oil exporting countries. This is not what Saudi Arabia wanted, and in the current proxy war with Yemen, this will impact the Kingdom negatively.

The economic boom in the region that is predicted to follow has implications for Pakistan. During the time of the recent oil shortage in Sindh and the Punjab, crude oil was being smuggled in from Iran. The smuggling will cut down, as legitimate trade ties can be established. We have been surrounded by politically and economically weak or hostile nations. Iran can be the first almost-normal neighbouring trade partner. Send them cotton, send them rice, and send Iran mangoes, by all means. Pakistan must ride out the boom and make sure its political meandering does not affect any trade gains that can be made or enemy investments in energy that Iran can offer. Due to the complex web of financial, shipping, energy and technology sanctions woven by the United States, the European Union and the United Nations Iran’s oil exports cut by the sanctions may not start rebounding before 2016. But the outlook for Iran is optimistic. The crisis in Yemen made oil prices rise, and the deal may just make them fall again. No matter what side one is on, Iran is balancing Gulf power like nothing else could, even when their economy has been stagnant for a long time and their people browbeaten by the clerical regime.

The economic benefits would extend across the Gulf, particularly to Dubai, which is a traditional hub for business with Iran and has a large Iranian community. Additionally, Iran is potentially attractive to investors because its isolation has encouraged indigenous expertise. Kuwait will be ready to invest. Iran’s opening up brings the Gulf economy right to our doorstep. Hopefully, the PM and his cronies realize that this is not the time to make enemies. Remember that money makes the world go round, not kings and clerics.