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D-IR: Delegation for relations with Iran

The European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Iran was established after the 2004 elections to the European Parliament, in order to create a direct channel of communication between the Parliament and the Islamic Republic of Iran's parliament, the Majlis.

Since 2015, when the EU, Iran and other partners signed an agreement about Iran's nuclear programme, the Union and Iran have committed to engage with one another. The European Parliament Iran Delegation plays a crucial role in this effort, as it enjoys a credibility developed during years of activity.

Inter-parliamentary meetings

A significant part of the delegation's work involves planning and participating in inter-parliamentary meetings with the Majlis.

The groundwork for these meetings was laid in 2005, when the delegation's chair and vice-chairs - its "bureau" - travelled to Teheran. Inter-parliamentary meetings have since taken place:
  • in October 2006 in Brussels,
  • in December 2007 in Teheran,
  • in November 2008 in Brussels,
  • in December 2013 in Tehran,
  • in May 2015 in Brussels.
Discussions at these meetings have addressed:
  • nuclear non-proliferation,
  • the fight against terrorism and drug trafficking,
  • climate change,
  • trade and investment relations,
  • freedom of press and opinion,
  • human rights, and in particular
    - the death penalty,
    - women's rights
    - children's legal treatment,
    - ethnic and religious minorities.
Inter-parliamentary meetings have also helped develop contacts with government and civil society.

Delegation meetings

In addition to inter-parliamentary meetings, the delegation has met on a monthly basis on its own to discuss relevant issues in Brussels and Strasbourg.

Recent D-IR discussions have touched on political developments in Iran, human rights issues, refugees, minorities, media and environmental emergencies, such as the case of Lake Urmia.

Iran's ambassador to the EU has frequently attended delegation meetings, as have representatives of the country's civil society and minorities, officials from the European Commission and European External Action Service (EEAS), United Nations officers, researchers and staff from non-governmental organisations.


The Delegation for relations with Iran counts 11 full members, supported by a number of substitute members. Those members are drawn from the European Parliament's political groups, with the political makeup of the delegation mirroring that of Parliament as a whole.

The Chair of the delegation is Cornelia Ernst, a German Member of the Confederal Group of the European United Left - Nordic Green Left in the Parliament. She is supported by two Vice-Chairs: MEPs Bart Groothuis (Renew - NL) and Massimiliano Salini (EPP - IT).

The Chair and Vice-Chairs are elected by the other members of the delegation.


In this new era of EU-Iran relationship, the delegation's most important goal is to build up mutual trust and respect, which have been much reduced by years of limited bilateral relations.

In a recent delegation meeting with Iran's ambassador to the EU, both MEPs and the ambassador affirmed that both parliaments, as the institutions directly representing citizens, should work to develop people-to-people contacts. Such contacts - between students or business representatives, artists or journalists - will contribute to peace and mutual understanding and cooperation.