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Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland

EU-suhteet - Embassy of Finland, Tehran : EU and Iran


No. 2, Haddadian St., Mirzapour St.,
Dr. Shariati Ave, Qeytarieh, Tehran 19336, Iran
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The European Union
and the Islamic Republic of Iran

The European Union in the world

The European Union (EU) provides an example of peaceful integration of a continent formerly driven by war and division. Today, the EU, which is the world’s largest donor ofdevelopment assistance and humanitarian aid, is active around the world, trying to combat poverty, to promote inclusive and just societies, and to safeguard and improve the natural environment on which we all depend. While promoting its values and interests, the EU persistently supports multilateral solutions to the challenging problems we all face today.

EU-Iran relations

The EU is the Islamic Republic of Iran’s main trading partner. Iran and the European Union began to seek possibilities for co-operation in 1998, leading to the launch of negotiations for a Trade and Co-operation Agreement and for a Political Dialogue Agreement in 2002. Negotiations were stalled in 2005. Resumption of negotiations between the EU and Iran on such agreements would enhance our political dialogue on regional and global issues, help Iran become a member of the World Trade Organization, and pave the way for closer co-operation in science & technology, energy, transport, environment, drug control, asylum and migration, education and culture, and any other area of shared interest.

The EU and Iran working together

The EU and Iranian governmental bodies already work together to:

  • Promote research in Iran. Iranian students and scholars have studied and carried out research in European universities, with support of the EU’s Erasmus Mundus programme, which offers scholarships for masters courses in Europe. The project brings together European universities, the Iranian Ministry of Science, Research & Technology and six Iranian universities. In its first year, over 50 Iranian scholars have already benefited from this programme to study a wide range of subjects in Europe.
  • Improve conditions in prison. The EU works with the Iranian judiciary on penal reform;
  • Help Afghan refugees and the Iranian people who have been caring for them. The EU has worked with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to help the Iranian Government repatriate or resettle some of the 2 million Afghan people who have sought and found refuge in Iran;
  • Control the spread of drugs. The European Commission supports the Iranian Drugs Control Headquarters and NGOs such as “Omid-e Now” who work on the drug problem in Iran;
  • Promote human rights. In Iran, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights is currently working with UN agencies in the field of human rights protection and education;
  • Respond to disaster. In response to the devastating earthquake that hit the city of Bam in 2003, ECHO, the EU’s humanitarian agency, provided over 120 billion Iranian Rials to help the people of Bam.

This bilateral cooperation should develop into many other areas as and when the EU and Iran are able to conclude their trade, co-operation and political agreements.

The EU and the Iranian nuclear programme

The EU is a strong supporter of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The EU does not question the right of Iran, which ratified the NPT in 1970, to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. As for any NPT member, these rights are conditional on compliance with the obligation not to develop nuclear weapons and not to contribute to nuclear proliferation. This is why all nuclear activities must be conducted in a manner that is transparent to the international community, under the full control of the global body which is designated for that purpose, the IAEA.

The EU has repeatedly stated its full support for all efforts to find a negotiated solution to the current situation. Any such negotiations, if they are to move forward, must be accompanied by the confidence-building measures requested by the international community through the IAEA, in line with the Resolutions adopted by the United Nations Security Council.

Iran now faces a strategic choice: to stand further away from the international community or to get closer and engage in mutual and wide cooperation.

For further reading:

The European Commission & Iran:

The European Parliament:

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Updated 4/8/2014

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