YEREVAN (ARF Press Service)—A recent decision to lease thousands of acres of land to Iranian sheep and cattle breeders in the Syunik province was questioned and criticized Tuesday by Armenian Revolutionary Federation parliamentary bloc member Aghvan Vartanian.
News of the proposed lease was announced in early January, when Iran officially offered to rent thousands of acres of land in neighboring areas.
“They want to rent pastures and graze their ship and cattle there. Right now things are under discussion,” Samvel Tangian, head of the agriculture department at the provincial administration, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service at the time.
In an announcement to Parliament, Vartanian called into question the feasibility of such a deal, also raising concerns about whether provincial leaders can engage in such deals.
“If this deal goes through what does the government have to gain? Or, will neighboring farmers lose business? What are going to be the political, psychological and environmental ramifications?” asked Vartanian.
He also said that if Armenia had such land to lease to Iran, why doesn’t the government offer subsidies or low-interest loans to Armenian farmers to utilize the land and boost dairy and meat production in the country.
“How can [our] international relations be based on such semi-literate approaches? How does this semi-veiled mode of operation benefitting our nation’s legal and democratic situation?” asked Vartanian.
The Parliament is scheduled to address this issue in its Wednesday session.