The European Commission approved an 18-million-euro plan to help Iran weather the new wave of US sanctions. The move is a diplomatic signal that the EU is not going to give up on its efforts to preserve the nuclear deal despite the opposition from the White House. Brussels wants to help Tehran address its key economic and social issues and thus mitigate the impact of the re-imposition of the sanctions by Washington. “This new package will widen economic and sectorial relations in areas that are of direct benefit to our citizens,” High Representative Federica Mogherini said.
At least 8 million out of the allocated grand total is designated for the Iranian private sector as the EU seeks to help small and medium-sized enterprises, facilitate the development of value chains and provide technical aid to Iran’s Promotion Organization. The EU is also facilitating the engagement of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in the country to help soften the impact of the new punitive measures. Despite these efforts, EIB president Werner Hoyer discarded the possibility of any EIB activity in Iran earlier this summer. “We would risk the business model of the bank if we would be active in Iran,” he said.
The EU is also going to provide support to help Tehran deal with environmental and climate challenges and support drug harm reduction as well. “With these measures, the EU demonstrates its support to the Iranian people and their peaceful and sustainable development,” Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, emphasized. “It encourages the stronger involvement of all actors in Iran and in particular the private sector,” Mimica added in a veiled reference to EU companies hesitating over restarting operations in the country.