The visit of the foreign minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif to Armenia has a high political importance because this is not a regional visit but a special visit to Armenia, the expert on Iranian affairs Vardan Voskanyan told Lragir.am, adding that this is an indicator of the highest level of the Iranian-Armenian political relations, and Iran is interested in Armenia.
“Formally, the visit is devoted to the 25th
anniversary of the Armenia-Iran diplomatic relations but there are several issues in the context of the visit, both political and economic. If we look into the political aspect, it will be obvious that Armenia interests Iran as a member state of the Eurasian Economic Union and Mohammad Javad Zarif has specified this, as a countries which has signed an enhanced partnership agreement with the EU. In other words, in fact Armenia can act as a bridge for Iran between the Eurasian space and the EU,” he says.
The second important thing in the political aspect, according to Vardan Voskanyan, is the Artsakh issue. The Iranians are interested in being informed about and if possible, participating in the peace process. “The presence of the Iranians has a noticeable balancing role in this,” he said.
The other important issue is the political processes underway in the Near East where, according to the expert, Iran has achieved serious success in fighting the Islamic State. And Armenia is interested in this not only because there is a big Armenian community in the Near East, relations with the countries of the region where the anti-terrorist fight is underway, but also because it is taken into account that part of the terrorists comes from Azerbaijan.
“As to the economic aspect, the Armenian and Iranian sides are interested in enhancing these relations to the level of political relations. In this aspect, the establishment of a free economic area in Meghri is important, cooperation in the energy sector is underscored, the Iranian foreign minister specified this, Iranian investments in Armenia. The programs connecting Armenia to the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea have a big importance, which the Armenian foreign minister highlighted, reiterating that Armenia is the shortest way to connect the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea,” he said.
Vardan Voskanyan said there are important projects in the energy sector, the construction of Meghri Water Power Plant modernized recently is highly important. The other important project is cooperation in the energy sector with the following formats: Turkmenistan-Iran-Armenia, Iran-Armenia-Georgia, which will have not only economic but also geopolitical importance for Armenia.
The expert notes that negotiating with the Iranians is not easy because they negotiate long but it does not mean that Armenia has no chance to succeed in these negotiations. Everything should be done to use Iran’s potential.
“The only guarantee of our success is our consistency and diligence. Armenia is as important to Iran as Iran is to Armenia. And us, as a stakeholder of our further existence in the South Caucasus as a powerful and accomplished country should use all the opportunities that Iran opens us for us. This has both an economic and geopolitical importance to us. Armenia which has developing relations with Iran will be in a different weight group than without them, and the same goes for Iran,” the expert says.