Given the issue over the country’s nuclear programme, the EU’s scope for cooperation with Iran is limited. Assistance is provided directly to the Iranian society; through a portfolio of projects implemented by local or European civil society organisations. These actions are funded under the EU instrument for non-state actors and, to a lesser extent, the corresponding instrument for human rights and democracy.

Due to a limited mandate for EU cooperation with Iran, most projects are funded under the Non-State Actors and Local Authorities in Development (NSA-LA).  Iran is also eligible for funding from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). Activities funded under both programmes include:

  • building the institutional capacity of Iranian civil societies enabling them to better fulfil their mandate,
  • reaching out to, and building the resilience of vulnerable groups such as Afghan refugees and youth,
  • supporting civil societies working on drugs prevention, and providing treatment and rehabilitation schemes for drug users,
  • providing support for disaster risk prevention in communities living in disaster-prone areas.

In addition to thematic programmes, the Erasmus Mundus programme provides annual funding opportunities, enabling between 30-50 Iranian university and post-graduate students to study in Europe.

The EU has no Delegation in the Islamic Republic of Iran but works in close collaboration with the EU member states’ embassies in Tehran.


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