Yerevan’s Swift Response to U.S.-Iran Tensions

Iranian mourners lift a picture of slain military commander Qasem Soleimani during a funeral procession in the capital Tehran on January 6, 2020, (AFP Photo by ATTA KENARE)
 Iranian mourners lift a picture of slain military commander Qasem Soleimani during a funeral procession in the capital Tehran on January 6, 2020, (AFP Photo by ATTA KENARE)

Iranian mourners lift a picture of slain military commander Qasem Soleimani during a funeral procession in the capital Tehran on January 6, 2020, (AFP Photo by ATTA KENARE)

Official Yerevan was quick to respond to tensions between the United States and Iran, which escalated late last week with the U.S. targeted killing of Iran’s top military commander Major General Qassem Suleimani, with Armenia’s Foreign Ministry expressing “serious concern” and the prime minister saying that Armenia cannot be drawn into the conflict.

Soon after the attack that killed Suleimani, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said in a Facebook live post that Armenia cannot be drawn into anti-Iranian or anti-American conflicts. He announced that Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif had discussed the developments in a phone conversation on Friday.

“The ministers discussed the regional situation, and the Armenian foreign minister expressed condolences to the Iranian government and people on the occasion of the situation that led to human losses,” said Pashinyan.

“You know that Iran is a friendly country for us, the United States is a friendly country for us, and in this situation, we, certainly, cannot be embroiled in anti-Iranian actions, nor can we become embroiled in anti-American actions. And our message is for our partners in Iran and United States to refrain from steps that would aggravate the already tense situation in our region and international relations,” added Pashinyan in his Facebook live message on Friday.

Pashinyan said he issued directives to relevant government bodies to monitor the situation issued to relevant governmental bodies to strictly monitor the situation..

“You understand that this work contains various nuances and I don’t think we should present all details. The government and all officials in-charge are in contact 24\7 and whenever needed we also meet, discuss and talk,” explained Pashinyan.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry expressed “serious concern” regarding the attack in Baghdad, during which Suleimani was killed.

“We are deeply concerned about the recent incidents in Baghdad which led to human losses as well,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “They risk further undermining the regional security and destabilizing the situation in the Middle East and beyond.”

“Armenia calls for the de-escalation of situation exclusively through peaceful means. Armenia will continue to closely cooperate with all its partners aimed at ensuring regional stability and security,” it added.

On Friday, Mnatsakanyan convened a meeting with Armenia’s ambassadors to Middle East countries to discuss the developments.

On Saturday, Armenia’s top military brass also held an emergency meeting. According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Artsrun Hovhannisyan, Armenia’s military leaders discussed the developments in the Middle East following Suleimani’s assassination.

In a related matter, Armenia’s National Security Service has detained a man it suspected of breaching Armenia’s national security by posting false statements under a fake Facebook account, which was used to flare tensions by the Azerbaijani media immediately following Suleimani’s killing.

The suspect, whose name has not been publicized, reportedly ran a Facebook account by the name of Diana Harutyunyan and used the account to spread false information, the latest of which was a fake report claiming that Pashinyan had congratulated President Donald Trump on the Suleimani’s assassination.

The media in Azerbaijan cited the false account and statement in an effort to flare tensions, at a volatile time in the region.

“The public distribution of fake news with such content aimed at inciting ethnic, racial and religious hostility, manipulation in the information-propaganda arena has inflicted significant damage to the national security interests of the Republic of Armenia,” the NSS said in a statement on Sunday.

The NSS publicized a video, in which the suspect, whose faced was blurred, claimed that he is in opposition to the government and disapproved of the jailing of former president Robert Kocharian. He cited that as the reason for his fake account, which has been in existence since 2018 and being used to spread disinformation to defame the authorities.

In the NSS vide, the suspect said he did not intend to cause damage to the national security and did not think that the fake news report authored by him would be re-published to that extent. He said he regrets having written the fake report.

The suspect has been placed under arrest amid an ongoing investigation.

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3 Comments

  1. GB said:

    Armenian must stay neutral and stay out of Middle Eastern dangerous politics. We have our own problems surrounded by deadly enemies!

  2. Ararat said:

    The position taken by the Armenian government in any conflict must be for the security of Armenia and in the interest of the Armenian nation first and foremost. It must also be wise and independent. Both Iran and the United States are important for Armenia and therefore the Armenian government should have a balanced approach to this conflict and avoid antagonizing either of the two. Sometimes it is best to stay out and remain neutral and I think this is one of those times.

    We cannot underestimate the importance of these two countries for our interests. Armenia shares a long border with Iran and right now Iran is pretty much the only reliable outlet for Armenia to the outside world in this hostile region. Also, the interests of Iran and Armenia overlap more or less in regards to the two terrorists to our east and west. And the United States has a very large Armenian Diaspora whose influence in the US foreign policy towards Armenia and Artsakh is quite effective and very crucial.

  3. Samuel Darbinian said:

    Fake news in the above article is not a much name it reality. which intended to minimize & dilute its effects on those who interested,& deviate them from reality, [n Armenia most governing brunches are fake including justice system or constitution one of them is spreading fake news by oddball crooks & fake Armenians,
    Tue person named Diana Harutyunyan just used as cover for spying & sabotaging with the purpose of inflicting harm to sensitive national interests in favor of another forign goernment,that is not surprize crazy Alieve is cheering & fanning it with great sarrow turks will never miss any thrivial opportune in oposit Armenian leaderships are doing nothing to curb turkish insatiabe appetite of advancment in spite of
    all historical &legitimate documents on the side of Armenians icluding president Woodrow Wilson Mandate & U.S. greate seal Armenian leaders willnot say anything for the sake ot Dear tavarish papeteers

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