Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran: Bilateral relations

14.09.2021 - Article

In 1952, diplomatic relations were established between the Federal Republic of Germany and Iran and the Iranian legation opened in Germany. Since then, close cooperation has developed, both in industry and in the education sector.

Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, relations between the two countries were very strained in some areas, and since 2003 they have been shaped by concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA) of 14 July 2015 between the E3/EU+3 countries and Iran has created an opportunity for closer bilateral relations and for regular political consultations. Germany, France, the UK and the EU are standing by the nuclear agreement, even after the withdrawal of the United States. Since April 2021, the E3 countries have been engaged in negotiations with Russia, China, Iran and the United States on a return by the US to the JCPoA and a renewed commitment by Iran to its obligations under the agreement. The German Government continues to follow the human rights situation in Iran with concern.

Economic relations between Germany and Iran have traditionally been close. Some 30 percent of Iran’s industrial infrastructure was produced in Germany. However, the withdrawal of the United States from the JCPoA, announced by President Trump on 8 May 2018, and the re-imposition of US secondary sanctions have had a serious impact on economic conditions. In 2019, trade between Germany and Iran fell by 45% compared to 2018 to 1722 million euro. According to Federal Statistical Office figures, trade between the two countries increased slightly again in 2020 to 1821 million euro. German exports to Iran were worth 1546 million euro, while German imports from Iran amounted to around 275 million euro. In 2020, Iran was thereby Germany’s 57th largest trading partner.

There is keen interest in cultural exchange and bilateral scientific and academic relations between Iran and Germany. Many Iranian scientists and academics were trained at German universities and support joint German-Iranian research projects and a strengthening of bilateral cooperation in higher education. Moreover, the German Embassy’s own Deutsches Sprachinstitut Teheran (DSIT) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are actively promoting cultural exchange and German as a foreign language.

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