On 16 April 2016, the EU High Representative and Vice-President of the European Commission (HRVP) Federica Mogherini met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran.
European Commission representatives present included EU Commissioners Elżbieta Bieńkowska (Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs), Miguel Arias Cañete (Climate Action and Energy), Christos Stylianides (Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management), Violeta Bulc (Transport), Carlos Moedas (Research, Science and Innovation), Karmenu Vella (Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) and Tibor Navracsics (Education, Culture, Youth and Sport). They met with their Iranian counterparts.
The two sides taking stock of their long standing relations, based upon mutual respect and interests, reiterated their intention to develop a broad and comprehensive agenda for bilateral cooperation.
They welcomed the implementation day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on 16 January 2016 that contributed to opening a new chapter in EU-Iran relations. The EU and Iran are fully committed to the JCPOA and its implementation in all its aspects. It was reconfirmed that the continued and full implementation of the JCPOA remains of utmost importance.
It was stated that the following shared and overarching objectives are vital for the promotion of EU-Iran relations:
• Ensuring and supporting the full implementation of the JCPOA in order to further improve and deepen bilateral cooperation;
• Developing cooperative relations in areas of mutual interest to benefit the economic development, human rights, prosperity and well-being of the people of Iran and the EU;
• Promoting regional peace, security and stability as well as peaceful settlement of regional conflicts through dialogue and engagement.
To facilitate the programme of cooperation as set out below and with a view to preparing the future opening of an EU Delegation in Tehran, in accordance with rules and regulations of the Islamic Republic of Iran, an EU liaison team will be sent to Tehran. This will contribute to strengthening the relations and implement future cooperation initiatives.
The EU and Iran intend to cooperate in the following areas:
The two sides intend to enhance their political dialogue through consultations at the level of the HRVP and the Iranian Foreign Minister, annually. This advances the existing agreement to meet regularly for a High Level Dialogue at Deputy Minister/ Political Director level. Senior officials and experts will meet as required to explore other fields of mutual interest in which bilateral, regional and international cooperation projects could be developed.
The two sides expressed their determination to enhance and promote human rights. In this context, they intend to engage in a human rights dialogue. To this end, they would welcome the exchange of visits of delegations.
The two sides encourage the expansion of economic relations between EU and Iran, recognizing the importance of macro-economic issues, trade, finance and investment in achieving sustainable growth and development. They intend to engage in a macro-economic and finance dialogue including on the following initiatives:
• Improve and enable financial as well as encouraging banking cooperation between the EU and Iran. The EU can assist if required in addressing Anti Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) issues;
• Explore the prospect of extending the third country lending mandate of the European Investment Bank (EIB) to Iran, to enhance the availability of finance for investment in Iran and possible blending (of loans with grants);
• Cooperation in a variety of sectors with a focus in particular on encouraging regulatory and industrial policy dialogues and creating mutual opportunities, including textiles, tourism, raw materials, construction and any other areas to be mutually determined;
• Building on EU expertise in the field of SMEs support to foster business and in particular SMEs favourable environment in Iran and share information on the “Enterprise Europe Network”;
• Exchange of Iran and EU business missions in the second half of the year;
• Consider development cooperation on strengthening the private sector and SMEs in Iran;
• Facilitate and encourage EU-Iran business sector presence in each others’ markets through a variety of measures .