The Islamic Republic of Iran is the world’s 18th most populous country with over 81 million inhabitants. While an upper middle income country, development challenges include environmental degradation, disappearance of wetlands, and high rates of drug addiction.
With the Joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA, nuclear deal), EU and UN sanctions due to Iran’s nuclear programme were lifted. The EU is involved throughout the implementation of the plan, including through sanctions relief and civil nuclear cooperation.
In the follow-up to the April 2016 joint statement by the High Representative/Vice-President of the European Union and the Minister of Foreign Aﬀairs, a number of high-level visits and exchanges have advanced EU-Iran cooperation in a variety of areas and sectors, including in trade and investment, agriculture, migration, drugs, education and science, environment and climate change, and human rights.
In 2018, the EU decided to allocate €50 million in support of bilateral cooperation with Iran in the period leading up to 2020. This comes in addition to humanitarian aid to assist Iran’s efforts to host its large refugee population and support to nuclear safety.
More than 3 million Afghans reside in Iran, many of whom are refugees. As part of a regional, comprehensive approach to the Afghan displacement crisis, the EU provides humanitarian aid as well as more long-term support to Iran’s efforts to host its large refugee population. As part of the Afghan Children on the Move project, implemented by UNICEF, the EU supports the integration of Afghan children in Iran’s educational system, including stigma-free curricula and teaching environments. With UNHCR, the EU provides basic social services to the nearly one million registered Afghan refugees in the country.
The EU provides similar social services to the undocumented Afghan population, estimated at some two million people, through international and domestic non-governmental partners.
As part of the EU’s bilateral cooperation programme with Iran, projects in areas including trade and private sector, environment and climate change, and drugs and social challenges are supported.
As part of the Joint comprehensive plan of action, the EU supports civil nuclear safety projects in Iran. This includes capacity building of the national nuclear regulatory authority, including conducting stress tests according to the EU methodology and the creation of a nuclear safety centre.
As part of the global Civil society and local authorities programme, the EU supports civil society actors in contributing to governance and development processes. Ongoing EU-supported projects address natural resources management, rural cooperatives, cultural heritage preservation and tourism promotion.