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Trade with Iran is subject to the EU's general import regime, as Iran is not a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). No bilateral trade agreement exists between the EU and Iran.
In December 2022, EU member states adopted new Conclusions on Iran outlining the EU’s position on its relationship with Iran, on the situation in Iran, including on human rights, on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and on regional issues.
The overarching objectives of EU-Iran relations remain based on a Joint Statement from 16 April 2016. Areas of cooperation with Iran include ‘in principle’ economic cooperation, trade and investment, agriculture, transport, energy and climate change, civil nuclear cooperation, science, research and innovation, education, culture, environment, drugs, migration, humanitarian issues and regional issues.
- In 2022, Iran was the EU’s 64th biggest trade partner.
- Total trade in goods between the EU and Iran in 2022 amounted to €5.2 billion. The EU’s imports were worth €1 billion and were dominated by plastics and rubber (€0.26 billion, 26%) and vegetable products (€0.25 billion, 25%). The EU’s exports amounted to €4.2 billion and were led by machinery and transport equipment (€1.2 billion, 28.6%), and chemicals (€1.0 billion, 23.8%).
- Two-way trade in services totalled €1.3 billion in 2021, with EU imports of services representing €0.7 billion and exports €0.6 billion.
- EU FDI stocks in Iran amounted to €2.9 billion in 2021, with inward flows of €2.4 billion.
The EU and Iran
The EU's relations with Iran are coordinated by a division of the European External Action Service (EEAS), which was established after the conclusion of the JCPOA in 2015. The EEAS division reports directly to the EEAS Deputy Secretary-General for Political Affairs.
The EU does not currently have a Delegation in Iran. In principle, therefore, it is, represented by the EU member state holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU.
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EU sanctions regime
Following a confirmation by the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran had fulfilled its nuclear obligations under the JCPOA, all EU economic and financial sanctions taken in connection with the Iranian nuclear programme were lifted in January 2016.
Nonetheless some sanctions and restrictions remain, including:
- the arms embargo;
- sanctions related to missile technology;
- restrictions on certain nuclear-related transfers and activities;
- provisions concerning certain metals and software which are subject to an authorisation regime, and;
- other related listings.
Since October 2022, the EU has adopted several rounds of restrictive measures against perpetrators of serious human rights violations in Iran. The EU has condemned the delivery of Iranian drones to Russia and their deadly deployment in the war of aggression against Ukraine. The EU will continue to respond to all such actions that support Russian aggression.
To this end, the EU has adopted further sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities in view of their role in the development and delivery of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) used by Russia.
Committees and Dialogues
The EU is not currently holding any trade committee meetings with Iran.
Trading with Iran
- Importing into the EU from Iran
- EU trade defence measures on imports from Iran
- Exporting from the EU to Iran
- Trade relations are part of the EU's overall political and economic relations with Iran