Experts call Zarif’s visit to Yerevan a good occasion for developing Armenia-Iran relations

 09:33,

YEREVAN, JANUARY 27, ARMENPRESS. The visit of Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif to Armenia is a good occasion for developing the Armenian-Iranian relations, Experts on Iranian studies Aharon Vardanyan and Vardan Voskanyan said in an interview to Armenpress, commenting on the purpose of the Iranian FM’s visit and the actions to be taken by the Armenian side.

Commenting on the Iranian FM’s visits to Azerbaijan, Russia and Armenia, as well as Iran’s interest to the Nagorno Karabakh issue, Aharon Vardanyan said it’s natural because Iran is trying to understand how it is going to build its relations in the region in these new circumstances.

“The fact that Iran is currently showing such interest is very normal. Iran is trying to understand how it is going to build its relations in this new geopolitical environment, in this region and is making clarifications for itself. I think that during the visit there can also be proposals on economic and political directions. For instance, Iran can propose the renovation of the north-south’s Syunik section or discuss the railway issue, try to understand the joint interests and the treats”, he said.

In his turn Vardan Voskanyan also stated that Iran is showing a great interest towards the ongoing actions around Nagorno Karabakh.

“It seems, the Iranian side is showing an interest to be a participant of the process. Currently, in fact, there are two formuts – the Minsk Group, which, unfortunately, is passive at this stage, and should become more active, because it derives from the interests of Armenia and also the Russian side, and the second format is the Russian-Turkish one. Here there are problems as well, the Russian side is trying to limit the Turkish presence as much as possible, and Iran, of course, has a goal to change the Russian-Turkish format into a trilateral format and have its place. But to what extent it will succeed is difficult to say at this moment. Iranians, it seems, are also interested in having some participation to the peacekeeping processes”, he said.

According to expert Aharon Vardanyan, the relations between Armenia and Iran of the past three years have become passive, but he states that the visit of the Iranian FM is a good chance to discuss the projects of the bilateral agenda.

“We must be able to push forward our agenda. The situation in the Armenian-Iranian relations in the past three years is calm, and now both the previous projects can either be implemented or updated, but also new ones can be proposed. The Armenian-Iranian relations are so multi-layered that one visit is not enough for covering them. There is a lot to discuss. But this visit can be used for discussing the issue of the opening of Tabriz consulate”, Vardanyan said.

According to Vardan Voskanyan, Armenia should discuss with Iran the provision of a direct communication, taking into account the Armenian-Iranian border and the opportunities of the Syunik province.

He said after the recent Artsakh War, Iran views South Caucasus as a key matter, and in the general context Armenia has become more vital for Armenia, which should be used.

He stated that during Zarif’s visit the issue of the Armenian prisoners of war who are in Azerbaijan must also be raised in order to achieve its solution.

“I think that all channels must be used for releasing our prisoners of war, so in this context works should be done also with the Iranian side so that we can use all our tools. It is also a humanitarian problem, Azerbaijan is using our civilians as hostages, this issue should be raised at different platforms in order to be solved”, Vardan Voskanyan said.

The Iranian Foreign Minister has started a regional visit. On January 25 he visited Azerbaijan and then Russia. Today he is visiting Armenia where a meeting with the leadership is scheduled.

Interview by Norayr Shoghikyan

Editing and Translating by Aneta Harutyunyan

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