EU Agrees €18M Development Aid for Iran

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -

The European Union on Thursday agreed to 18 million euros ($20.6 million) in aid for Iran, including for the private sector, to help offset the impact of U.S. sanctions and salvage a 2015 deal that saw Tehran limit its nuclear ambitions.

The announcement is part of the bloc’s high-profile efforts to support the nuclear accord that President Donald Trump abandoned in May. It is part of a wider package of 50 million euros earmarked for Iran in the EU budget.

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.

The bloc’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the bloc was committed to cooperation with Iran.

“This new package will widen economic and sectoral relations in areas that are of direct benefit to our citizens,” she said.

The bloc will spend €8 million on the Islamic Republic’s private sector, including assistance for small and medium-sized enterprises and Iran’s Trade Promotion Organization.

A further €8 million will go to environmental projects and €2 million to fighting harm caused by drugs.