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First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri (L) shakes hands with the head of EU’s Agriculture and Rural Development Commission, Phil Hogan, in Tehran on Nov. 11.
First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri (L) shakes hands with the head of EU’s Agriculture and Rural Development Commission, Phil Hogan, in Tehran on Nov. 11.

Iran-EU Trade Rises

Iran’s exports to the 28 European countries stood at €7.3 billion, registering more than a twofold rise year-on-year, while imports amounted to €7.5 billion, which is 1.3 times YOY
Food trade between Iran and the European Union has leaped by 94% since the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers was signed in 2015

Iran-EU Trade Rises

About €14.8 billion worth of commodities were exchanged between Iran and the European Union states during the first nine months of 2017, about 1.6 times as much as the figure registered in last year's corresponding period, Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture cited Eurostat data as reporting.

Iran’s exports to the 28 European countries stood at €7.3 billion, registering more than a twofold rise year-on-year.

Iran's imports from the European bloc amounted to €7.5 billion, which is 1.3 times as much as last year’s similar period.

European traders and businesses have been at the forefront of resuming ties with Iran after Tehran signed a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, which led to the removal of nuclear-related sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Head of EU’s Agriculture and Rural Development Commission Phil Hogan led a 70-member delegation from 19 European countries to the Iranian capital, Tehran last month.

The official was accompanied by representatives of 40 European businesses who sought to expand cooperation throughout the production chain in the dairy, meat, vegetable, chocolate, oilseed and animal feed sectors, among others, in Hogan's words.

The two sides also surveyed the possibilities of Iran exporting pistachio, saffron, ostriches, trout and horses to the EU and importing seeds, cow and sheep meat, dairy, milk powder, olive oil and off-season fruit from the EU in return.

According to Hogan, food trade between Iran and the European Union has leaped by 94% since the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

“Iran-EU cooperation will be prosperous,” said Hogan in a joint press conference with Iranian Minister of Agriculture Mahmoud Hojjati.

He stressed that the EU is determined to continue its economic interactions with Iran within the nuclear deal framework and the visiting mission is hoping to increase bilateral ties to the benefit of both sides.

Despite US President Donald Trump's anti-Iran policy, which has created uncertainty over the fate of the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Europeans have vowed to stand firm by JCPOA.

Some of the US's closest allies, the UK, Germany and France, which have been growing increasingly frustrated after months of lobbying to keep the Iran nuclear deal intact, have formed a united front, CNN reported on Tuesday.

Without being invited, they've organized a joint mission to travel to Washington this week, setting up their own meetings to ramp up pressure on the US.

The team of senior European diplomats was scheduled to meet members of the US Congress, State Department and possibly at the White House on Thursday and Friday, the report added.

The visit continues an extended pressure campaign by key European nations, which has included trips by senior figures, including the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, and UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, to protect the Iran nuclear deal in the face of hostility from Trump, who has declared he wants the agreement changed or canceled.

In October, Trump declared Iran wasn't complying with the "spirit" of the deal and asked congress to change the domestic law to allow the administration to tighten the screws on Iran over non-nuclear issues.

Senior European diplomats have been ratcheting up their campaign for months. There have been visits and dozens of meetings on the Hill.

Earlier in September, EU Ambassador to the United States David O’Sullivan said if the US pulls out of the nuclear agreement and reapplies sanctions that target not only Iran but other countries who do business with Iran, the European Union could take advantage of a statute dating back to the mid-1990s that would protect European companies from being penalized under the sanctions.

“We have the blocking statute ... which does offer legal protection to European companies which are threatened by the extraterritorial nature of US sanctions in certain circumstances … I have no doubt that if this scenario materializes, which it’s not clear it will, the European Union will act to protect the legitimate interests of our companies with all the means at our disposal,” he has been quoted as saying.

Italy, Germany, France and the UK are Iran's main trade partners in the European Union.

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