Has Medvedev Discarded Karen Karapetyan's Effort?

    • Comments - 03 November 2017, 00:12
On November 2, Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan held a press conference to present the government's work and answer the questions of journalists.

Karen Karapetyan appointed the press conference a few days ago when he had just returned from Iran. At one of the events, he said he had come back from Iran with interesting discussions and arrangements and promised to to talk about them during the upcoming press conference.

Karen Karapetyan made this statement ahead of the meeting of the EEU Prime Ministers in Armenia attended by the Russian Prime Minister Medvedev.

This led to assumptions that the possible package of discussions and agreements in Iran will be presented to Medvedev for approval to go on to publish them.

At least, it is noteworthy that having had interesting discussions in Iran, Karen Karapetyan did not rush to speak out about them, promising to do so during the press conference. And it is even more interesting that at the press conference Karen Karapetyan did not mention his visit to Iran in his introductory remarks and during the questions and answers.

Of course, there was no a question concerning the visit but the prime minister would have definitely spoken about it if he had wanted to.

Accordingly, the absence of any specific discussion, a new substantial agreement, arrangement, or announcement of a new program during his visit to Iran raises the question whether Medvedev, did not welcome the arrangement therefore it was meaningless to share them. Is this the reason why Karapetyan did not speak about any specific outcomes of his visit to Iran?

Or maybe the visit did not cover anything specific, new or interesting, and that's why there was nothing to say.

Anyway, if there is anything interesting to tell about his visit to Iran, it would certainly be possible to find an opportunity to share it after the press conference.

And the topic itself is now topical more than ever, taking into account at least two events around Armenia - the launch of the Kars-Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Baku railway and the second Iran-Russia-Azerbaijan meeting in Tehran, during which the Russian President spoke about forming a trilateral North-South corridor.

In this setting, the prime minister's press conference goes without a reference to the Iranian topic.

On the other hand, one can notice that in terms of its relations with Iran, Yerevan has appeared in a rather ambiguous state. Back in August, at the EEU summit in Sochi Serzh Sargsyan expressed confidence that rapid development of relations with Iran is a shared approach for all the members of the EEU. Serzh Sargsyan probably meant that the EEU members were disinterested.

In Yerevan, Medvedev just welcomed the creation of a free trade zone, saying that he will pass word about it to Russian enterpreneurs. In other words, Medvedev's statement was that Russia is not interested in deepening the Armenian-Iranian relations. In fact, Putin's statement in the Russia-Iran-Azerbaijan format is also evidence to this.

In this case, the problem is not why Russia does not help Armenia deepen relations with Iran but it is done through Azerbaijan. After all, the problem of the Russian-Georgian relations is present, which slows down the forming of the North-South corridor across Armenia.

The question in this case is whether Armenia can deepen its relations with Iran, either bilaterally or within the framework of the Persian Gulf-Black Sea idea, to form a so-called South-North-East corridor to Europe via Georgia.

Can Armenia overcome Russia's military-political barrier in that issue because besides the EEU de jure lock the key to which is not in the hands of Armenia or in the hands of everyone except Armenia, there is also Russia's de-facto reluctance, as deepening of Iran-Armenia bilateral relations, or the formation of the South-East corridor contradicts Russia’s strategic vision on the Caucasus: on the one hand, they are a possibility for Iran to play a more active role and for Armenia and Georgia to have more independence and security.

To say nothing about the possible involvement of China and India in the possible Iran-Armenia-Georgia axis.