Germany and the Islamic Republic of Iran: Bilateral relations

14.03.2024 - 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.

For a long time, economic relations between Germany and Iran were close. In 2023, however, the foreign trade volume fell to approximately 1.44 billion euro, and was thus around 40 percent 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 1.2 billion euro in 2023 (24 percent below the 2022 level), and included machinery, pharmaceutical, optical, electrotechnical and chemical products and food. Iranian exports to Germany amounted to around 244 million euro in 2023 (down 18 percent compared to 2022), and included agricultural and pharmaceutical products, carpets and raw materials. Iran was thus Germany’s 77th largest trading partner in 2023 (74th 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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