Armenia Tries to Reassure Iran Over Embassy in Israel

Armenia's Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (left) greets his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Munich in 2019
Armenia's Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (left) greets his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Munich in 2019

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan (left) greets his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Munich in 2019

Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said Yerevan’s relations with Iran are advancing through active dialogue encompassing an extensive agenda. His remarks to reporters Thursday was aimed at reassuring Tehran over Armenia’s announced plans to open an embassy in Israel.

Mnatsakanyan’s remarks come two days after about two dozen Iranian university students held a demonstration in front of Armenia’s Embassy in Tehran protesting Yerevan’s decision, announced last September, to open an embassy in Tel Aviv. Demonstrators chanted “death to Israel” and burned an Israeli flag.

While saying that Armenia has its own interests to advance, Mnatsakanyan told reporters that Yerevan has never and it will not pursue relations with one partner at the expense of another.

“We have more than a handful of examples of how Armenia combines its policies with various partners, its key partners, while also pursuing its own interests and not harming the various developments that affect our national security,” Mnatsakanyan said.

“We have very clear plans for the development of bilateral relations at all levels. In this period, the permanent dialogue between Armenia’s Prime Minister and the President of Iran continues, there has been a very clear conversation in terms of advancing our programs. At the level of foreign ministers, a very clear dialogue has been maintained,” Mnatsakanyan added.

The foreign minister’s comments echoed those made by Armenia’s Ambassador to Iran Artashes Toumanian, who since Tuesday’s protest has met with a high-level official at Iran’s foreign ministry to reassure Tehran that its relations with Yerevan remain strong.

Armenia’s Embassy in Iran said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that during a meeting on Wednesday with Mohsen Faghani, the head of the Caucasus Department at Iran’s foreign ministry, the two discussed the anti-Israeli protest, with the Iranian official noting “dissatisfactions” in certain “circles” with Yerevan’s plans to open an embassy in Israel, which Faghani said “will not affect relations between” Iran and Armenia.

However, according to the statement by Armenia’s Embassy in Tehran, Faghani went on to voice concerns regarding the strengthening of Israel’s influence in its neighboring country. Toumanian assured Faghani that Yerevan would never engage in anti-Iranian policies.

Toumanian recalled a meeting he had on March 15 with Alireza Haghighian, the head of Eurasian Affairs at Iran’s foreign ministry, during which he presented Yerevan’s aims for opening an embassy in Israel that included the strengthening of Armenia’s presence in the Middle East and preserving the rich cultural and historical Armenian heritage in Jerusalem—the Holy Land.

The March meeting came on the same day that Iran officially expressed its concerns over Yerevan’s move to open an embassy in Israel. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, a senior adviser to Iran’s parliament speaker Ali Larijani, had announced on March 15 that the move will have a “negative impact on stability and security in the region” and urged Yerevan to “think twice” before opening the mission in Tel Aviv.

While Israel and Armenia established diplomatic relations in 1992, there has not been a diplomatic representation on each other’s land.

Relations with Israel have traditionally been muted, mainly due to concerns by Armenia about Israel’s continued supply of arms to Azerbaijan. During the 2016 April War, Artsakh soldiers downed several Azerbaijani drones that were made in Israel. In 2017, it was revealed that an Israeli arms contractor was forced to carry out a live demonstration of its weaponized drones on Artsakh targets. Furthermore, Israel continues to refuse to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

Faghani and Toumanian agreed that Iran-Armenia relations were at their highest level, praising the cooperation between the two countries during the COVID-19 crisis.

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8 Comments

  1. Gabriel Karpouzian said:

    Shame on the Armenian government to have decided to open an embassy in Israel. Armenia admits that Israel provide drones to Azerbaijan, which have been used against Artsakh. Armenia knows that by opening an embassy in Israel the Iranians would feel betrayed after all the help they provided Armenia in the past and continue doing so. Armenia knows that many Armenians in Syria served in the Syrian army and fought and died during the Arab-Israeli wars. Armenia knows that Israel is a Zionist, racist country that treats the non-Jewish populations as second class citizens, which include Arab Muslims, Christians and Armenians. Armenia knows that democracy in Israel is for the Jews only just as the Apartheid regime is South Africa served the White minority only and oppressed the Black majority in their own country. Knowing all that one wonders what benefits Armenia is seeking by establishing an embassy in Israel. Let the government in Armenia explain its rationale behind this policy which will backfire and the Armenians in the Middle East will consequently suffer from it.

  2. Albert Haroian said:

    I am against to opening of this mission, since there will be an Israeli on in Yerevan, which will cause problems with our friendly neighbor Iran. How can we trust Israel?Look at their actions in Palastine.

  3. Vince Kachatorian said:

    I hope they can balance this decisions ramifications.

  4. GB said:

    If we were not surrounded with Axerbaijan and Turkey then we could have a perfect neutral country in Caucasus. I am sure Israeli government knows Armenia’s survival in a volatile place like South Caucasus, where anytime Turkic herds can attack and take our left over lands. Iran has no other choice but to have better relationship with Armenia, due to their own Azarbaijani population, where Ilham Aliyev and West causing headache for Iranian regime!

    Armenia should satisfy Iran politically and militarily. Unlike Axerbaijan Armenia will never harm Iran’s foreign policy, we have been neighbours for over 2000 years. Persians in general respect and trust Armenians more than any other nation!

  5. GARO YEGHICHIAN said:

    Iran is Arminia`s best freind and neighber, but steel has`t recognised the Armenian Genocide.

  6. joe said:

    Im not sure Iran would come to Armenia’s aid in case of war. Its has its own interests to protect. Israel has posts in Azerbaijan and Iran still maintains relations with Azerbaijan? How is that acceptable?

    ARM THE ARMENIAN ARMY TO THE TEETH.
    DIASPORA ARMY UNITS: TRAINED -READY-INVOLVED
    CLANDESTINE NUCLEAR PROGRAM
    UNITY: ONE ARMENIA, ARTSAKH & DIASPORA..nothing less..

  7. Tonyan said:

    There is no benefit to Armenia in this move over an embassy. It will serve Israeli interests, but not Armenia’s. As to the vacuous waffling about-preserving rich cultural heritage in Jerusalem, it is just platitudinal film flam. Armenians are notorious for political gaffes.

  8. rostom dermgrdichian said:

    Armenian PM Pashinyan Government made biggest mistake to locate Armenian Embassy in Tel Aviv. Pashinyan also congratulated Israeli PM Netanyahou.

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