Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran: Bilateral relations

04.10.2023 - Article

In 1952, diplomatic relations were established between the Federal Republic of Germany and Iran and the Iranian legation opened in Germany. Following the Islamic Revolution in 1979, relations between the two countries were very strained in some areas. In particular, the German Government is following with concern the human rights situation in Iran, as well as Iran’s nuclear programme.

Economic relations between Germany and Iran were traditionally close. Some 30% of Iran’s industrial infrastructure was produced in Germany. In 2022, however, the foreign trade volume fell to approximately 1.88 billion euro, and was thus almost a quarter below the 2015 level when the most comprehensive EU economic sanctions against Iran to date were in force (2.38 billion euro). German exports to Iran totalled around 1.58 billion euro in 2022. Around 28% of the exports are food, in particular grain. Some 12% of the total exports are pharmaceuticals, a further 20% machinery and related spare parts, mostly for the agricultural, medical and textile sectors. Iran’s exports to Germany, including in particular agricultural produce and raw materials, amounted to around 299 million euro in 2022. Iran was thus Germany’s 74th largest trading partner in 2022.

Traditionally, there has been a lively exchange between Germany and Iran in the cultural and academic spheres, but it is currently under great strain and in decline due to the changed political situation. Nevertheless, there is still considerable interest in a bilateral cultural and academic exchange within the two countries’ civil societies. The German Archaeological Institute has an office in Tehran, while the German Embassy’s own Deutsches Sprachinstitut Teheran (DSIT) promotes German as a foreign language.

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