New Era of Iran-Europe Relations after the Nuclear Agreement

28 July 2015 | 20:39 Code : 1950553 Review General category
An essay by Dr. Saeed Khaloozadeh, a university professor and senior researcher in European studies
New Era of Iran-Europe Relations after the Nuclear Agreement

Dr. Rohani's victory created a new atmosphere in the international scene and led to new and positive speculations in Iran's nuclear program and other foreign policy issues of Iran. The Rohani administration showed from the beginning that it could establish a high capacity for a constructive dialogue and interaction with European countries. This is while today western countries are more interested in talking with Iran and it is an indication of the promotion of Iran's regional and international status. The agreement reached between Iran and the P5+1 countries in July 2015 in Vienna opened a new perspective in the relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the EU countries, the regional and international impacts of which will be seen in the relations with other regional and world players. This article will analyze the new perspective which is created after the nuclear agreement regarding the European Union and its member countries.


The agreement reached between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the P5+1 countries is the continuation of the active foreign policy of the country in Rohani's administration of Hope and Prudence. This process was established by the election of Dr. Rohani and created a new dialogue in Iran's foreign policy. The Vienna Agreement could lead to new horizons in the trend of cooperation between Iran and the EU countries and even expand to other countries and power blocs. On one hand, the European Union considers this agreement within the framework of progress in one of the most important and sensitive cases of the international community which put the success of the joint foreign policy of the European countries to a test; the case which the EU has had a highlighted role in since 2002. The Vienna Agreement officially ended the boycott of high level diplomatic relations and economic cooperation with Iran. It seems that at the present time the ground is prepared for expansive political interactions and multilateral economic cooperation between Iran and the European countries.

During the past one and a half years, European delegations have made repeated political, economic, trade and parliamentarian visits to Iran. The final agreement of these negotiations will create a new perspective in Iran's foreign policy and could be a turning point in Iran's foreign relations. Iran's foreign policy is more active than before and ready to establish new relations with different countries. The Vienna Agreement has officially put an end to the boycott of diplomatic visits made by high-ranking European officials to the Islamic Republic of Iran which started from the beginning of the 9th administration and continued until recently. Considering the ruling realistic view of international relations and high significance of national interests, it seems that the European countries are ready to reestablish their relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all areas and the next few months which would lead to the implementation of the agreement are important and determining months for both sides. This is while there is now a competition in the visits made by European delegations to Iran. When the final agreement made in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 is implemented, a new era will be created in Iran's relations with EU countries which would be unprecedented since the victory of the Islamic Revolution. This situation will certainly impact other countries of the world in their interest in expanding their relations with Iran.

Meanwhile, high-ranking political, economic and trade delegations of Europe are making visits to Iran. The visit made by the high-ranking economictrade delegation of Germany led by the Deputy Chancellor and Economy Minister of this country, future visits by Laurent Fabius, the French Foreign Minister, and Federica Mogherini, Italian, Spanish and Greek delegations, the Austrian President,...  are all indicative of a new era in Iran's relations and cooperation between Iran and the European countries.

During the course of nuclear negotiations, European countries have played collaborating and mediating roles to bring the views of Iran and the US closer to each other. It could be said that the EU is the most important victor of the Vienna Agreement because this issue has increased its political and international reputation in the world and is a positive point in the framework of common foreign policy and the security of this union.

If differences occur between Iran and the US in the course of the agreement’s implementation, the EU and Ms. Mogherini will play significant roles in resolving them. The implementation of this agreement may not be easy and different interpretations might be pursued, but the main objective is the final resolution of Iran’s nuclear case, thus, the P5+1 countries will do their utmost to implement the agreement items and the EU will play an important role in this regard. This agreement has a win-win outcome. Diplomacy and negotiation can also be considered as valuable solutions for regional and international crises.

In a general conclusion, it seems that one can be optimistic about the future of cooperation with European countries. Although certain countries and groups attempt to disrupt this path, since there is good will on both sides to resolve this matter, the positive signs to reach the final deal outweigh the negative ones. Therefore, positive developments can be expected in the future.

There are now signs of competition between Europe and the US. Considering the ruling realism in international relations and the importance of national interests and the interests of the private sector, it seems that, when there are differences in the trade interests, the level of cooperation and interaction will be reduced and aspects of competition will increase. Not only between the European countries but between Europe and the US, particularly at non-governmental levels and their trade companies, the competition regarding their presence in Iran’s big market has already begun. In such an atmosphere, trade interests are more important than anything else. Negotiations of the big European and American oil and gas companies and automobile industry, etc. with Iran have already started.

The EU and its big countries, including Germany, France and Britain (and also Italy) which have played important roles in nuclear negotiations with Iran, are preparing themselves for the new conditions of cooperation with Iran and are willing to bypass the cold era of relations. Other European countries including Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Greece, … are also interested in improving their relations with Iran.

Iran’s big 80 million strong market creates economic and trade opportunities for European countries and companies which must not be missed. Basically, under the difficult economic conditions and high rate of unemployment in European countries, these opportunities which may help their ailing economies are very important. On the other hand, the lifting of certain sanctions along with the balancing of the political and psychological pressures will open new gates for the Islamic Republic of Iran. These opportunities will prepare the ground for new political, economic and trade interactions in the regional and international scenes and create new diplomacy between Iran and the world. In the near future, the 28 member countries of the EU will take new positions based on cooperation and constructive interaction with Iran. It seems that victory of diplomacy over force and the victory of dialogue over sanctions is a perspective which has brought multilateral victories for all players on the scene.