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Map of Iran

Map of Iran.
flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Islamic Republic of Iran


New Zealand and Iran have a friendly and significant relationship comprised of trade, cultural and political links.

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Trade and economic relationship

The bilateral economic relationship is based primarily on the commodities trade between the two countries. Iran is currently New Zealand's third largest export market in the Middle East. New Zealand exports to Iran were worth NZ$262.87 million in 2012 and around $173 million in 2013; dairy products were the major contributor contributing over 83 percent of value. Fish and wool were the other major export commodities. Imports in 2012 amounted to NZ$4.5 million and consisted mainly of edible fruits and nuts, and textile floor coverings.

United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran (which are binding on all UN member states including New Zealand) have made business and transactions difficult. In addition, unilateral sanctions imposed by the US, EU and other countries, especially on the banking, insurance and transport sectors, impact significantly on any business foreign companies have with Iranian entities. All entities incorporated under New Zealand law (including New Zealand businesses based offshore) must register with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade if they intend to do business in Iran, or with businesses controlled by Iranian citizens. The registration requirement applies to goods and services that are exported to and imported from Iran. It is illegal to do business with any Iranian entity without being registered.

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Political and cultural links

New Zealand has had an Embassy in Tehran since 1975, making it New Zealand's longest-standing mission in the Middle East. In previous years political cooperation was focused first on the Joint Ministerial Commission (established in 1985 to discuss and advance trade and economic relations) and then on the Political and Economic Cooperation Commission (PECC). The PECC offers a framework for the continuation of high-level visits and has a broader scope that better reflects the political and commercial relationship than the JMC. The last meeting of the PECC was held in Tehran in November 2009.

In 2012 there were 179 Iranians students studying in New Zealand, mostly enrolled in PhD programmes. It is estimated that there are around 8000 Iranian New Zealanders living in New Zealand.

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Regional and multilateral links

Iran is currently chair of the Non-Aligned movement, of which New Zealand is an observer. New Zealand also has a good working relationship with Iran in multilateral forums such as the UN, OPEC, FAO and the World Bank.

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Key facts


Land Area 1,648,195 sq km
Population 79,853,900 (July 2013 est.)
Capital City Tehran (population est. 15 million)
Religion Shi’a Muslim (95%); Sunni Muslim (4%); Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian and Bahá’i minorities (1%)
Language Persian



Political system Theocratic republic
National legislature Majlis (unicameral parliament) next election March 2015
Last Presidential election June 2013
Next Presidential election due June 2017
Head of State Supreme Leader Ali Hoseini-KHAMENEI (since 4 June 1989)
Head of Government President Dr Hassan ROUHANI (since 3 August 2013)


Economic ($USD)

GDP $548.9 billion (2012 estimate)
Real GDP growth Negative 5.4% (2013)
Exports $136.12 billion (2012 estimate)
Imports $66.97 billion (2012 estimate)
Main exports Oil, petroleum, chemical and petrochemical products, fruits and nuts, carpets
Inflation 40% (2013)
Unemployment 15.5% (2013 estimate)

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Embassy of New Zealand, Tehran [external link].

No 1, Second Park Alley, 34 Sousan Street, North Golestan Complex, Aghdassiyeh Avenue, Niavaran, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran
Tel: (+98 21) 2612 2175 and  0044 207 6601157 (via London)
Fax: (+98 21) 2612 1973 and 0044 207 6601158 (via London)
Email: nzembassytehran@hotmail.co.nz

Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Wellington

PO Box 14733, Kilbirnie, Wellington
Tel: (04) 386 2976; (04) 386 2983; (04) 939 4536 (Consular)
Fax: (04) 939 8108
Email: info@iranembassy.org.nz


Travel advice

The Safetravel website [external link] provides a travel advisory for travellers to Iran.

Enquiries may be directed to Consular Division at the following numbers: telephone: +64 4 439 8000; fax: +64 4 439 8532.

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Page last updated: Thursday, 20 February 2014 13:06 NZDT