Iran in Focus

Policy Briefing

Peace, Security & Defence

Europe needs to expand diplomacy to bring Tehran out of the cold while also putting pressure on it simultaneously.

Friends of Europe has completed the first iteration of its Iran in Focus programme, which ran from June 2021 through July 2022. Adopting a wider perspective on security by focusing on women, civil society and human rights, the programme’s series of debates, roundtable discussions, focus groups and articles offer a fresh perspective on diplomacy that empowers domestic activism.

The culminating report, authored by Negar Mortazavi, an Iranian-American journalist and 2017 MENA Young Leader, reviews the discussions of the programme and highlights key comments of participating experts. The report finds that Europe should strengthen diplomatic relations with Iran by:

  • continuing to facilitate diplomacy between Iran and the United States on the nuclear issue and beyond,
  • expanding diplomacy with Iran in other areas that concern the region,
  • managing a balancing act when building bridges between the US and Iran,
  • establishing stronger humanitarian harm assessments,
  • working on building a long-term and functional relationship with Iran, and
  • supporting and engaging the Iranian civil society while also taking precaution to not endanger activists on the ground.

We would like to acknowledge and praise the brave women and men who are currently risking their lives and protesting across Iran. This report was written before the protests erupted, but again reminds us of why the region and its partners are going to be key in supporting the efforts of the Iranian civil society, and the Iranian community at large, towards prosperity and a brighter future.

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