Armenian paper critical of state policy on Iran gas pipeline

Armenian paper critical of state policy on Iran gas pipeline

Haykakan Zhamanak
17 Apr 04

Text of Erdzanik Abgaryan’s report by Armenian newspaper Haykakan
Zhamanak on 17 April headlined “Kocharyan is giving a big gas pipeline
to a Turk as a gift”

It is no secret that the European Union has a positive attitude
towards the idea that the Central Asia-Iran-Armenia gas pipeline
should go via Armenia, suggesting the closure of the Armenian Nuclear
Power Station, which meets the interests of the people’s
security. Iran’s position on this issue is absolutely good.

But it is strange and tragicomic that the special representative of
the EU for the South Caucasus, Heikki Talvitie, and Iran’s Foreign
Minister Kamal Kharrazi have tried to persuade the Kocharyan
administration to agree to build the gas pipeline via Armenia. So the
gas pipeline caused a stir last week.

[Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan] Oskanyan, who fails all strategic
issues together with his chief [Armenian President Robert Kocharyan],
visited Tehran and finally buried the hope that the gas pipeline will
be constructed via Armenia. Information sources disseminate
contradictory information about that visit and it may be concluded
that the Armenian authorities and their secret services were behind
that flow of disinformation. But on 13 April Iran’s Oil Minister
[Bizhan Namdar-]Zanganeh announced that a contract on the Iran-Armenia
gas pipeline is already ready and he will soon visit Armenia for
signing it. Saying that the volumes of Iranian gas supplies are
limited by 1,500m cu.m. annually, Zanganeh in fact confirmed that the
constructed pipeline will not be a transit one. That is, Armenia is
withdrawn from this international programme just the same way as it
was withdrawn from other international and regional programmes. As a
result of it, the Armenians will be deprived of those significant sums
that would be charged for transit, and of many jobs, and it is even
more tragic that Armenia will be sidelined from all international

As can be seen, the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline will also be under
Russia’s control as Russia’s Itera will be the gas pipeline’s
operator. We do not accuse Russia, we accuse its Armenian stooges:
Kocharyan and his administration who betrayed our national
interests. Nevertheless, it is obvious that Russia’s diplomatic
position on this gas pipeline is based not only on its aspiration to
preserve its monopoly on gas supplies to Europe, but also on its aim
to establish deeper relations with the Turks and Azerbaijanis. The
point is that the Russians also know that the Central Asia-Iran-Europe
pipeline will be undoubtedly constructed. And if not via Armenia, it
may be constructed via Turkey or Azerbaijan.

So withdrawing Armenia from the regional and international cooperation
programmes, as well as from the Central Asia-Iran-Europe gas pipeline
system, Russia simply cooperates with Turkey and Azerbaijan in the
issue of sidelining Armenia from the world processes. So we can say
that the “national” socialist Dashnaks and the law-abiding persons who
have turned the National Assembly into barracks, headed by Kocharyan,
are handing the strategic interests of Armenia to the Turks on a
plate. And today’s opposition, at its mass rallies, is obliged to
disclose this crime along with other crimes of the Kocharyan
administration which flouts the interests of the Armenian people and