YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—Iran will be able to deepen its international relations, especially with neighbors, after sanctions are lifted, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Iran to Armenia Mohammad Raiesi told reporters in Yerevan on Friday.
Raiesi said that cooperation with neighbor countries is the foundation of Iran’s foreign policy. “We have very good relations with Armenia, and after the sanctions are lifted they will deepen even more,” he said.
The ambassador also said that “Armenia can be a bridge linking the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea.”
“This may take a long time, but it’s unequivocal that communications can have a serious impact on the development of Armenian and Iranian economies,” said Raiesi.
According to Raiesi, Iran’s Vice-President plans on visiting Armenia in the coming months.
He added that the lifting of sanctions and Iran’s return as a full-fledged member of the international community will change the situation in the Middle East and will give a new quality to Iran’s relations with its neighbors.
Raiesi hopes that the level of economic relations between Armenia and Iran will reach that of their political ties.
“The construction of the railway linking Armenia with Iran is estimated to cost $3.5 billion. Now the turn is for investors,” Raiesi said, referring to a planned Armenia-Iran railway.
According to Raiesi, Armenia and Iran have signed numerous agreements on various projects, including the construction of a hydropower plant in Meghri, though several have yet to be implemented.
The agreement on the construction of a rail link between Iran and Armenia was approved in 2009. In 2012, Dubai-based Rasia FZE Investment Company was granted a 50-year concession by the Armenian government to build and manage the 305-kilometer railway from Armenia to Iran, to be named the Southern Armenian Railway (SAR).
Rasia FZE introduced a feasibility study for the project, estimated to cost $3.5 billion in 2013. The high cost has been attributed to the mountainous terrain through which the rail link is supposed to pass. The 305-kilometer long railway will have 64 bridges and 60 tunnels.
The railway is to run from Gagarin station in Armenia’s Gegharkunik province to Agarak in southern Syunik, and may transport up to 25 million cargos a year.
According to an Armenian government statement, the Southern Armenia Railway will create the shortest transportation route from the ports of the Black Sea to the ports of the Persian Gulf, and establish a major transit corridor for commodities between Europe and the Persian Gulf region.
As for the Karabakh conflict, Raiesi hopes the issue will be resolved peacefully through negotiations. “Peace and security in neighboring countries is a guarantee of Iran’s security,” he said.