This page was archived on October 2020.



47 - Iran

Grade: A
Unity 4/5
Resources 5/5
Strategy 5/5
Impact 4/5
Total 18/20
Scorecard 2012: B- (11/20)
Scorecard 2013: B- (12/20)
Scorecard 2014: A (18/20)
Scorecard 2015: A- (16/20)

The nuclear deal with Iran was a major success for Europe, opening the path to engage in diplomacy on other regional issues

Europe fulfilled its primary objective on Iran by reaching a nuclear deal as part of a multilateral platform. While the US led the final efforts, Germany, France, and the UK (the EU3) were broadly unified throughout negotiations, with some last-minute exceptions aimed at securing post-deal leverage. The EU high representative will be acting coordinator for the Joint Commission established to oversee the deal’s implementation.

Europeans unanimously backed the deal, adopting a Council resolution. The EU3 in particular openly encouraged domestic forces inside Tehran and Washington to endorse the deal, and cooperated with the US to present a common position to sceptical regional allies.

A secondary objective for Europe was to engage with Iran on a broader scale, especially on regional issues and trade. While Iran’s human rights record remained a concern for Europe, there was no meaningful engagement on this. After July’s deal, EU3 foreign ministers and the EU high representative made separate visits to Tehran focused on regional conflicts, and underscored the importance of Iran taking part in negotiations on Syria. Most EU member states have also sent their foreign ministers to Tehran to expand bilateral relations. The EU’s recently formed Iran Task Force has been charged with outlining a pan-European strategy towards the country, including engagement on human rights.

Close to 200 European trade delegations have reportedly visited Iran since the 2013 interim deal. The Commission will ensure that trade is compliant with the easing of sanctions, and together with the EU3 has pressed the US Treasury for clarification on how US secondary sanctions will continue to impact European companies.

President Hassan Rouhani cancelled planned trips to Italy and France after the November Paris attacks. These would have been the first visit to Europe by an Iranian president in over a decade, and have been rescheduled for early 2016. Going forward, Europe’s key objectives on Iran will be to ensure the successful implementation of the nuclear deal, deepen engagement on regional security, and use Iran’s energy resources to diversify Europe’s supply.