EU Unveils 18M Euro Development Aid for Iran

By The Associated Press

BRUSSELS—The European Union is announcing its first financial support package to help bolster Iran’s flagging economy, part of the bloc’s commitment to keep the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal alive.

The European Commission unveiled on Aug. 23 a first tranche of 18 million euros ($21 million) — 8 million for the private sector, 8 million to cope with environmental problems, and 2 million for drug abuse.

It’s part of a wider 50-million-euro effort to help Iran cope with its long-lasting economic and social challenges. In 2014, Iran had the world’s highest inflation rate after Venezuela, Sudan, Argentina, Malawi, and Belarus, according to the World Bank.

The EU considers the nuclear deal vital for global security, still expressing confidence that it believes that Tehran will live up to the deal by limiting its nuclear ambitions. U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal struck by his predecessor in May, after which sanctions were put in place.

The sanctions hit some European companies doing business in Iran. Tehran announced Monday that French oil company Total SA had left.

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 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.

Reuters also contributed to this report.