Book of Europe (10): Iran-EU Relations

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Compiled & Edited By: Behzad Ahmadi Lafuraki

Publisher: Tehran International Studies & Research Institute (TISRI)
Publication Date: April 2011
Pages: 310
ISBN: 987-946-526-148-9
Language: Persian

Since the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran’s relations with the European Union (EU) – which was then called European Economic Community (EEC) – have seen many ups and downs due to organizational developments in EU and developments in the Middle East. As a result, those relations have been seldom stable for a long time. The most important reason for that situation was Iran’s distance from the West following the Islamic Revolution and its opposition to the United States hegemonic policies and the very existence of Israel. Iran’s nuclear activities and the situation of human rights in the country have been more recent variables that have further limited promotion of political, cultural, economic and security relations between the two sides. Iran’s geopolitical importance in addition to its many capacities for strengthening regional stability and security, ensuring security of energy, fighting terrorism and drug trafficking as well as improving global economic conditions have caused relations with Iran to be of vital importance to EU and its individual members.

This volume of Book of Europe will see into Iran’s relations with EU to shed more light on the most important issues of import for the two sides. It focuses first on Iran’s general relations with EU following by specific relations with three major EU players, that is, Germany, France and UK.

The first article in the book is entitled “EU’s Approaches to Iran” which discusses various approaches taken by EU to Iran in the past 10 years, especially under the ninth and tenth Iranian governments. Authors argue that during this period, relations with EU have not progressed as EU members have taken sides with the United States’ policies against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The second article focuses on human rights and its impact on Iran’s relations with EU. This issue has been as important as the nuclear case in affecting Iran-EU relations. The paper is entitled “Human Rights and its Status in EU’s Policies toward Iran.” At first, EU’s approach to human rights is explained followed by a discussion of relevant treaties as well as bilateral or multilateral interactions within EU. The author believes that human rights has overshadowed EU’s relations with many countries in the past few decades, including Iran. Iran’s and EU’s approaches to human rights is another topic of the article with the author trying to review influence of human rights on bilateral relations between Iran and EU.

“To what extent has political tension with the West affected economic and trade relations between Iran and Europe and has this politico-economic tool been able to change Iran’s behavior toward the West?” The third article in the book, which is entitled “Impact of West’s Economic Sanctions on Iran-EU Trade Relations,” tries to answer this question by studying the existing viewpoints. The author first provides a theoretical account of sanctions as well as Iran’s trade ties to EU both before and after imposition of the UN sanctions. The account is built on available statistics and figures. Then he explains consequences and effects of Western sanctions.

The fourth article entitled “Iran and Europe’s Energy Security Game in the Caspian Sea,” discusses energy security as one of the most important issues for the European Union. Banking on theory of games and two key concepts of “balance” and “necessity of respecting natural rights of countries” in any long-term game, the article analyzes interactions relation to energy security in Europe from the beginning of the 1990s up to the present time. Then, the Islamic Republic of Iran is entered as a major player to pave the way for presenting an account on Iran’s best role in future course of this game.

Role of the European Union in Iran’s Nuclear Case” is the main subject of the fifth article. There are, undoubtedly, many challenges on the way of improving Iran’s relations with EU, but one of the most important of those challenges is Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities which has had a great impact on both political and other aspects of bilateral relations. The author first points to role of EU and its major players in Iran’s nuclear case before explaining the reasons behind the present situation. The article also explains the impact of EU on the United Nations Security Council’s anti-Iran resolutions and shows how EU’s positions on the nuclear issue have come close to those of the United States.

The sixth article, which is the first on Iran’s relations with key players in EU, discusses Iran’s relations with Germany. Will Germany value its historical friendship with Iran or will Berlin let Iran down by attuning its policy to those of the United States? The author of the sixth article which is entitled “Germany: An Unfaithful Friend: Iran-Germany Relations and Future Outlooks,” tries to delineate the main reasons behind cold relations between the two countries by focusing on common interests of Iran and Germany. The author argues that reducing bilateral relations to Iran’s nuclear case by the German government has greatly affected those relations. Meanwhile, Berlin’s subservience to London-Washington policies toward Iran has deprived it of the sole maneuvering ground in the Middle East.

The seventh article discusses Iran’s relations with UK and their impact on Iran’s overall interactions with EU in the past decade. The author, whose main source is the British National Archives, has tried to use an analytical framework to review relations between London and Washington and explain consequences of those relations on Iran’s ties to UK. The article then discusses viewpoints of dominant British political parties and changes in their policies toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Finally, the author focuses on the impact of tension in Iran’s relations with UK on Iran’s overall relations with the European Union.

The last part of Book of Europe (10) is entitled “Analysis of Political Relations between Iran and France,” which tries to probe reasons behind French leaders’ hostile positions toward Iran and its nuclear program. It also explains major areas of discord between the two countries. The article mostly pivots around the viewpoints of France on global and regional developments. It assumes that changing roles of the two countries in the Middle East has led to increased regional clout of Iran and subsequent friction between national interests of Iran and France. The article also discusses major approaches in France’s foreign and Middle Eastern policies as well as major factors determining foreign policy decisions of that country.

About the Author

Behzad Ahmadi Lafuraki is the director of international relations at Tehran International Studies & Research Institute( and analyst of EU and NATO affairs. He received his M.A. in German language and literature from Islamic Azad University in Tehran-Iran. He is the writer of "Europe Book Series", "Turkey, Present and Future" and "Lobby and Lobbyist in the US".

More By Behzad Ahmadi Lafuraki:

*Iran in NATO PA Mediterranean and Middle East Special Group:

*NATO’s Call on Russia for Cooperation: Goals and Possibilities:’s_Call_on_Russia_for_Cooperation_Goals_and_Possibilities.htm

*NATO’s New Strategy in Afghanistan:’s_New_Strategy_in_Afghanistan.htm

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