The European Commission on August 23 adopted a support package for Iran. This includes €18m for projects in support of sustainable economic and social development in the Islamic Republic of Iran, including €8m assistance to the private sector.

This package is part of a bigger package of €50m for Iran, aiming to support the country to address key economic and social challenges. They are part of the renewed cooperation and engagement between the European Union and Iran following the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Since the renewal of the EU-Iran relations as a result of the Iran nuclear deal, cooperation has developed in many sectors,” said the European Commission’s High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini. “We are committed to sustain it and this new package will widen economic and sectoral relations in areas that are of direct benefit to our citizens”.

In turn, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, said the funding is a show of the EU’s support to the Iranian people and their peaceful and sustainable development. “It encourages stronger involvement of all actors in Iran and in particular the private sector.”

According to a Commission press release, activities supporting the private sector will include support to high-potential Iranian Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), the development of selected value chains, and technical assistance to Iran’s Trade Promotion Organisation.

The projects will be implemented by the International Trade Centre, EU Member State agencies, and other organisations in close cooperation with Iranian counterparts.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, the funding package is part of the bloc’s high-profile efforts to support the nuclear accord that United States President Donald Trump abandoned in May.

The EU is working to maintain trade with Iran, which has threatened to stop complying with the nuclear agreement if it fails to see the economic benefits of relief from sanctions.