Islamic Republic of Iran

Islamic Republic of Iran

Last updated in June 2016

Political relations

Diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and Iran were established in 1952, the same year the Iranian legation was opened in Germany. Apart from the economic sector, close cooperation has developed in particular in education: the numerous German vocational schools in Iran came to be held in high regard as partners and their past reputation still contributes to Iran’s generally positive view of Germany.

Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, relations between the two countries were severely strained in some areas and since 2003 have been marred by worries about Iran’s nuclear programme. The 14 July 2015 Vienna nuclear agreement between the E3/EU+3 and Iran brought about a settlement of the nuclear dispute (for more information on the nuclear dossier, follow the link in the right-hand column). This opens up an opportunity for closer bilateral relations and regular political consultations that include regional issues. The Federal Government continues to watch the human rights situation in Iran with concern.

Economic relations

Economic relations between Germany and Iran have traditionally been close. Some 30 per cent of Iran‘s industrial infrastructure was produced in Germany. As a result of the international sanctions imposed on account of Iran’s nuclear programme, trade relations have declined since 2007 and only began to pick up again in 2014. Bilateral trade was worth EUR 2.69 billion in 2014, an increase of 27 per cent. The sharp rise in German exports is mainly due to increases in exports of machinery and grain. In 2015, bilateral trade fell by 10 per cent compared with the previous year, to EUR 2.4 billion. Following the lifting of EU economic and financial sanctions on 16 January 2016, German business associations are optimistic about the prospects of bilateral trade soon gaining traction again.

Bilateral trade

Exports to Iran
Imports from Iran
EUR 1,85 billion (-27 per cent)
EUR 274 million (-21 per cent)
EUR 2.391 billion (+30 per cent)
EUR 295 million (+8 per cent)
EUR 2.1    billion (-12.17 per cent)
 EUR 300 million (+1.7 per cent)

Cultural relations

Both sides have a keen interest in cultural exchange. This applies in particular to bilateral scientific and academic relations. A whole generation of Iranian scientists and academics were trained at German institutions and today many alumni support joint German-Iranian research projects and a strengthening of academic cooperation. In 2014, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) opened its new office in Tehran. There are three lecturers working in the country. Other German institutions active in Tehran are the German Embassy’s own German Language Institute, the German Embassy School Tehran, the German Archaeological Institute and a Protestant parish served by a German married couple acting as priests.

Besides the promotion of scientific and academic relations, German as a foreign language is another focus of bilateral cultural relations. In 2015, 8,500 students enrolled at all levels in the language courses offered by the German Language Institute Tehran (DSIT) and more than 10,500 learners of German sat the Goethe Institute’s central examinations. In addition, the DSIT offers Iranian teachers of German further-education courses and is training a new generation of teachers.

The German Embassy promotes the learning of German at school level by currently providing special support to seven Iranian schools that offer German. In this connection, an annual national German Language Olympics has been held in Iran since April 2014.

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