"This budget is related to Iran's cooperation with the European Union, and it has nothing to do with the EU’s economic package planned to be proposed within the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to counter US sanctions against Iran," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said, as cited by the Tasnim News Agency.
On Thursday, the European Commission endorsed the first batch of projects worth 18 million euros (about $21 million) to support Iran’s economic and social development as part of the bloc's "renewed" engagement with the country. A number of media reported that the aid had been allocated to offset the US sanctions.
Following the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, the European Union along with other signatories to the accord has repeatedly stressed their interest in preserving ties with Iran. Since then, the European Union has amended its Blocking Statute to protect the interests of EU companies doing business with Iran.