Iranian Armenians Celebrate ARF 113th Anniversary

TEHRAN–Armenia’s in Tehran–Iran celebrated ARF Day–the 113th anniversary of the ARF–on Tuesday–December 2–in the Hovhannes Toumanian Hall of the Charmahal Armenian Student Association of Tehran.

The keynote speaker was Levon Mkrtchian–head of the ARF bloc in Armenia’s National Assembly (parliament). Also present were Armenia’s ambassador to Iran Gegham Gharibjanian; deputy head of the Armenian embassy Grigor Arakelian; Armenian member of the Iranian parliament Dr. Levon Davtian–who represents Armenia’s of Northern Iran; representatives of the Armenian Church; and large numbers of community members.

Speaking of the ARF’s role in the internal political life of Armenia–keynote speaker Mkrtchian said–"We are called upon–as a party–to struggle so that our people have a strong–independent–democratic–and prosperous state incorporating the entirety of its homeland. That is also the unique element of the ARF’s political identity and mode of operation–because in contrast to many other political forces–there is a powerful ideological foundation in the work of the ARF–and that foundation is independent of any human or subjective factor. That foundation has been in place in the ARF since its inception–through its program–and it is thanks to that foundation that we achieve successes–and sometimes retreat–but clearly continue along our path."

Referring to the ARF’s activities in the past 14 years in Armenia as well as the Diaspora–the speaker said that it has persistently pursued policies that derive from its principles and–as a result of which–was at one point in the role of opposition to and thereafter alongside the authorities. Currently–the ARF has a significantly greater realm of responsibility.

"We find that the development of our newly independent state–comprising a small segment of our homeland–must have a national character–that it must construct a national state on a foundation of a national ideology and must express the aspirations–goals–and interests of the entire Armenian nation," Mkrtchian said.

Speaking of Armenia’s external relations–he referred in particular to the latest events in Georgia–noting two factors: (1) Georgia’s role as a link to the outside world and (2) the existence of a large number of Armenia’s in Georgia as well as the Javakhk question. He also spoke of Iran’s importance:

"We have very serious–long-term plans with our other strategic partner–Iran–and our search for alternative routes has brought us to this hospitable country. In the last decade of Armenia’s existence–we have been grateful to Iran in two fundamental regards:

"First–when the road through Georgia was closed and Armenia was in complete isolation–Iran was the country that opened Armenia’s path to the outside world?which will never be forgotten by the Armenian people.

"Second–nor will its political stance–that is–its balanced position regarding the Karabagh question–which nipped in the bud Azerbaijan’s efforts to present the question as a religious conflict."

The program commenced with opening remarks by Gevorg Vardanian–who spoke of the ARF’s ideological foundation–noting that "the four elemen’s constituting the pillars that buttress the ARF’s value system–that is–nationalism–socialism–democracy–and ‘revolutionariness’–are of equal value and worth to the ARF. They complement and compete with each other; they are values that are in harmony and not in contradiction. They are called upon to serve–first and foremost–the Armenian nation–and–through the attainment of complete and total freedom for the Armenian nation and the Armenian individual–they aim to serve human development and peaceful coexistence for all of humanity."

An artistic program was also a part of the celebration–as was a photographic display depicting the Armenian national liberation movement.

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