Iran is now reviving the exchange possibilities by launching several deals and agreements with a good number of European countries.
The Cluster Development mapping tool managed by the Business Clusters Development Team provides information on clusters from Iran and has recorded approximatively 70 cluster organisations in Iran.
The Iran Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade (MIMT)’s missions include initiatives encouraging the development of cluster policies such as the development of a national cluster action plan by the Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organisation (ISIPO). An EU-Iran cluster matchmaking event is organised by the ECCP in October 2016 in Tehran.

Economic and political context

Iran’s growth rate is forecasted to increase over the next 3 years. According to the World Bank, Iran’s GDP growth rate will rise until 2018 (forecasting 5.8% in 2016, 6.7% in 2017 and 6% in 2018). Iran is ranked 74th in the world in the Global Competitiveness Report, and according to the report, figures in the top 20 countries for its market size and is well ranked for health and primary education.


China and the United Arab Emirates are Iran's main trade partners, followed by the EU. There is currently no bilateral trade agreement between the EU and Iran, which could be explained by the EU trade sanction regime of August 2005. However, the sanctions have been released in January 2016: trade is now once more possible and has been launched through recent visits of the Iranian government in several EU countries. A series of economic MoUs’, with a number of foreign countries have been set up recently, mostly on a sectoral and business to business basis (such as Italy and South Africa for example) and supported by the Iran Ministries and consular chambers. Other examples, illustrating that exchanges have strongly developed recently, are the on-site implantation of Trade, Investment and Promotion Organisations (TPOs) in Iran (eg. the Union of Bavarian Economy) or the development of trade missions in Iran (such as the one organised by Flanders Investment & Trade in collaboration with AWEX in November 2016).Read less.

Between Iran and the EU, a High Level Dialogue was held in February 2016 during which future areas of cooperation were identified and a delegation with EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini, including EU Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska, in charge of Internal Market and Industry, was organised to Iran in April 2016, following which a joint statement was published. An EU liaison team is now established in Tehran.

Cluster community in the country

A  cluster mapping tool exists in Iran, with some pages in English dedicated to foreign visitors, managed by an organisation named “Business Clusters Development Team” and implemented in conjunction with the Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organisation (ISIPO). The latter maps more than 70 cluster organisations such as the Leather Cluster, Hospital Equipment Cluster or Building Cluster in Tehran.

Cluster policies encouraging the development and internationalisation of clusters

The Iran Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade (MIMT) integrates the development of clusters in its competences and missions. Two main initiatives have been implemented over the last decades for the development of a cluster policy:

Projects funded by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in the country are mentioned as the starting point of the cluster policy in Iran. There have been SME cluster support projects from UNIDO in collaboration with ISIPO, implemented until 2007. 

Cluster to cluster cooperation opportunities and potential interest from European clusters and SMEs

The European Commission strongly supports the cluster to cluster cooperation with Iran. An EU-Iran cluster matchmaking event is organised by the ECCP in October 2016.

Some cluster organisations have developed activities / cooperation with Iran. For instance, the Styria Human Technology Cluster from Austria visited Iran in May 2016.  The cluster visited the "Iran Health" exhibition where, according to the cluster, numerous valuable contacts with Iranian Organisations were made.

Iran is also a target country for some ESCP-4i projects in the fields of photonics and sport.


Join events to learn about the cluster policy and meet peers from this country
Date Event Target Event Type
13 July 2017 Industry 4.0 The Fourth Industrial Revolution Cluster managers, Large audience, SME Conference
27 June 2017 International B2B Event for subsurface industries Cluster managers, SME Conference, Matchmaking
16 October 2016 EU-IRAN Cluster Matchmaking Event, Tehran (Iran) October 17th-18th 2016 Cluster managers, Cluster Policy Makers, Investors, Large audience, Project coordinators, SME Matchmaking, Policy learning, Workshop
17 July 2016 World Investment Forum 2016 Large audience Conference


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ESCP-4is targetting this country

Acronym Name Technology Fields Sectoral Industries Targeted third countries No. of SME involved No. of Partners
EU4SPORTSCLUSTERSALL EU4SPORTS Clusters Alliance China, Iran, Japan, United States 316 5