During recent years, relations between Iran and the EU have experienced a declining trend, given the fact that European have cooperated extensively with the U.S. to put pressure on Iran. The U.S. factor plays a central role in the relations between Iran and the EU. Any change in the new U.S. administration's policies towards Iran in a positive direction, will open the doors of Iran's market to EU countries and will remove obstacles in the way of economic cooperation in all fields.

With the coming to power of a new administration in the U.S. promising an agenda for change, especially change in its policies towards Iran, there are some expectations that Iran and the EU can find a way to escape the deadlock in their relations. It seems that the attractiveness of Iran as a regional power as well as an energy supplier and a sizable market for European goods, can serve this end. However, the differences between the two sides in terms of their conflicting worldviews will probably remain intact.

Iran's nuclear dossier has been the main obstacle preventing the normal development of relations between the two sides. The EU has not been persuaded of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program. European countries feel themselves more vulnerable to the existence of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, a region regarded important to the security of Europe. In the meantime, some other issues remain on the agenda of the Iran-EU relations, for example, the Middle East peace process which Iran is considered having a negative effect, Iran's support of Hezbollah and Hamas, and the situations regarding its human rights. These are the same issues that constituted previous agendas for dialogue between Iran and the EU, first under the name of "critical dialogue" and then continued with the new title of "comprehensive dialogue". These dialogues came to an end with the culmination of Iran's nuclear crisis in 2003.

However, if the new U.S. administration engages in a "grand bargain" with Iran for solving the nuclear crisis and reaching a general agreement on cooperation over the issues of common interests such as Iraq and Afghanistan, then Europeans will be more inclined to initiate efforts for commercial and economic cooperation with Iran. Here, the element of competition between Europeans and the U.S. could not be overlooked. One of the major concerns of the European countries, especially after the gas crisis with Russia is energy security. The main thrust in European policies is to diversify their energy suppliers, in this context Iran is the best candidate both for supplying energy and serving as an energy transit route. This would be a good option for the EU to reduce its dependency on Russia in terms of its energy needs. Meanwhile, the EU will be able to retrieve its position as the biggest exporter of goods and commodities to Iran. At present, following the sanctions imposed against Iran and the adoption of the "look to the East policy" by the Iranian government, China ranks first among exporters of industrial and consumer goods to Iran.

It seems unlikely that in the near future an increase in the level of economic cooperation will spill over into political and cultural fields. However, Iran and the EU can take steps towards the removal of misunderstandings through cultural and educational exchanges. Obviously, these efforts will not completely resolve the problem, but they will contribute to a constructive interaction in a more favorable atmosphere