Sarkisian, Ahmadinejad Discuss Cooperation

Sarkisian greets Ahmadinejad in Tehran

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad reaffirmed Iran’s desire to expand political and economic links with Armenia during weekend talks in Tehran with his visiting Armenian counterpart Serzh Sarkisian.

The two men reviewed bilateral ties and, in particular, the implementation of Armenian-Iranian commercial projects on the sidelines of official celebrations of the ancient Persian Nowruz holiday.

Sarkisian attended the festivities along with the presidents of Afghanistan, Iraq, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. Several other regional states were represented by more low-level officials.

According to Iran’s English-language Press TV network, Ahmadinejad told Sarkisian on Sunday that Tehran “has placed no limits on the development of cooperation with Yerevan” and wants to deepen ties between the two “friendly neighbors.”

The Iranian Fars news agency reported that the talks focused on ways of “strengthening bilateral cooperation and good neighborly relations.” It said Ahmadinejad stressed the importance of the multimillion-dollar energy and transport projects approved by the two governments.

A statement by the Armenian presidential press service said Sarkisian also reaffirmed Yerevan’s strong interest in their implementation. It said the two presidents specifically discussed ambitions plans to build a railway connecting Armenia with Iran.

The railway construction is estimated to cost at least $1 billion. Neither government has so far identified concrete sources of funding for the project.

Yerevan and Tehran are much closer to starting work on two hydro-electric plants on the Arax river marking the Armenian-Iranian border and a pipeline that will ship Iranian fuel to Armenia.

In a speech delivered during the Nowruz celebrations later on Sunday, Sarkisian described the Armenian-Iranian relationship as “truly exemplary.” “Our friendship and the existence of a thriving Armenian community in Iran is a good example of cooperation and mutual enrichment of the Christian and Islamic civilizations,” he said.

“Cooperation between Armenia and Iran is a history of friendship, tolerance, mutual respect and cultural dialogue,” he added.

Sarkisian’s press office said on Friday that the Armenian leader is also scheduled to meet with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. However, no such meeting was reported by official Armenian and Iranian sources by Monday evening.

The Armenian and Iranian foreign ministers held separate talks in Tehran on Sunday. The Armenian Foreign Ministry said they discussed a “wide range issues related to bilateral relations.”

The Islamic Republic’s growing ties its sole Christian neighbor appear to have caused serious unease in Azerbaijan. In a series of public statements made last month, several pro-government members of Azerbaijan’s parliament accused Iran of pursuing an “anti-Azerbaijani” policy and demanded that Baku scale back relations with Tehran.

The Azerbaijani government has until now avoided endorsing such accusations or publicly demanding that Iran join in Azerbaijan’s and Turkey’s long-running economic blockade of Armenia. Still, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was conspicuously absent from the Nowruz celebrations in Tehran.

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4 Comments

  1. Sylva-MD-Poetry said:

    Cathedral Vank still stay in Isfahan(Iran) since 1665 beautiful as it was
    While the 2000 churches vanished in Turkey and Azerbaijan with 10,000′ khatchars

    Some nation respects others’ cultures
    And some vanish cultures
    I can’t understand where the religion stands?

    This is because some people work
    for their culture and use their minds and hands
    While others steal and pretend belongs to them…
    Like Ayasofia’s Cathedral since 6th century
    Now turned to Museum
    Still belongs to old and new Ottoman’s
    Can the real owners get it back?

    I feel our gods are blind!
    The power of slayers are stronger
    Than any unseen gods!

  2. Sergik said:

    Iranians are our good old friend who can be relied on and we should keep them happy.

  3. Truth said:

    Turkey and Azerbaijan have there own plans regarding north Iran! Turkey would like to eliminate “Kurdish danger/problem “ on long term, Therefore for Turkey “Azerbaijani” is a useful tool as the Kurds were a useful tool in 1800´s ( to make Armenians a minority in there homeland) and 1915 to help to annihilate Armenians!

    The West is already probing other kinds of “revolutions” in Libya. Some could try to apply a modified version of “Democratic Libyan Revolution” for Iran. Therefore Armenia should be on alert.

    Turkish PM is having phone calls with his old friend Gadafi, Turkish FM use to have phone calls with so called friendly Libyan rabbles and Turkish army is bombing Libya!

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