Ahmadinejad Postpones Armenia Visit

Presidents Sarkisian and Ahmadinejad in Tehran last March

TEHRAN—Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cancelled his scheduled visit to Yerevan hour before his scheduled arrival, but Iranian foreign ministry sources said the trip was postponed and the change was mutually agreed upon.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said that the delay in President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Armenia was a decision taken by both sides, and stressed that the Iranian president will definitely take the trip to Yerevan in the near future, reported the Fars News Agency.

“The visit will surely be paid in the near future,” Mehman-Parast said in a statement released on Monday.

He said that more time was needed for drafting and finalizing the documents and agreements on the two countries’ mutual cooperation, and noted that the exact date for Ahmadinejad’s upcoming visit to Yerevan will be announced in due time.

Meantime, Mehmanparast lauded the close ties between Tehran and Yerevan, and underscored, “The Islamic Republic of Iran and Armenia enjoy good ties and good neighborly relations, and they hold continued consultations on various issues.”

Ahmadinejad was to leave Tehran for Yerevan Monday in a bid to explore avenues for the further expansion of ties between the two neighboring states.

Ahmadinejad was last in Armenia in 2007. During the trip, the two sides signed four memoranda of understanding and issued a joint communiqué on the expansion of bilateral cooperation.

Iran and Armenia have taken major strides towards promoting mutual relations in the past few years. The bilateral trade volume between the two states stands at nearly $270 million, a figure that is expected to climb in a near future, according to officials.

Iran and Armenia have expanded cooperation in power and gas swap in recent years.

Iran mainly exports natural gas to Armenia and imports power supplies from the Caucasian state through two transfer lines with a total power transfer capacity of 220kw/ph at present.

Last week, Iranian Minister of Energy Majid Namjou announced that the two countries would increase swap of electricity once the third power transmission line is completed.

“The construction phase of the third power transmission line between the two countries will start in the next two weeks,” Namjou told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with Armenian Energy and Natural Resources Minister Armen Movsisian.

He added the new line will bring the volume of power exchange between the two countries from the current 300mw to 500-800 mw.

The minister said that over $110million of funding is needed for the construction of the new power transmission line.

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