Armenia, Iran Sign Three Memorandums of Understanding
TEHRAN, Iran – During his two day trip to Iran, Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetian met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, First Vice President Es’haq Jahangiri, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, and representatives of the local Armenian community. In addition to his meetings, three memorandums of understanding were signed during a ceremony that took place throughout his visit.
Prime Minister Karapetian met with the Iranian President on October 10 at the Presidential palace where he thanked Rouhani for the reception and conveyed the greetings of Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian.
“Armenia attaches great importance to the warm and friendly relations with Iran, which have serious historical grounds and are based on mutual interests,” said Karapetian. “I can state with satisfaction that these relations are at the high level and that the bilateral cooperation only continues to develop.”
In turn, President Rouhani expressed confidence that his visit will contribute to further deepening the Armenian-Iranian friendly ties in different spheres. The Iranian President added that he is ready to assist the initiative of the governments of the two countries, as well as the implementation of joint programs.
The sides highlighted deepening and expanding the cooperation in a number fields including energy, agriculture, IT, tourism, Syunik and Aras free economic zones, as well as increasing the trade turnover volumes between the two countries.
Karapetian also emphasized the high level of political dialogue that has been achieved between Armenia and Iran. In addition, the sides discussed the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement and regional affairs. Karapetian said Armenia highly appreciates Iran’s balanced stance on the Karabakh conflict, which is an important indicator of ensuring regional peace and security.
The Iranian President conveyed his warm greetings to the Armenian President and the Armenian people and highly appreciated the role of the Armenian community in development of different spheres of Iran.
The memorandums of understanding were signed on October 9 in veterinary, culture and art, and science and technology, according to IRNA.
In Karapetian’s meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Larijani, the plan of the two nations to establish a free trade zone in the border region to enhance mutual economic and trade ties was discussed, reported Tasnim news agency.
“Yerevan has invited Eurasian and European parties to get involved in the free trade zone trade and economic activities,” said Karapetian.
“The free trade zone would be of significance for foreign businesses given its proximity to Iran,” he said, adding that Iranian merchants could lead to an economic boom in the zone by taking an active role.
Karapetian expressed Armenia’s willingness to form a new type of relations with Iran with a new outlook.
Ali Larijani stressed the need to continue strengthening economic cooperation and expand ties between the parliaments of the two countries.
“Iran and Armenia enjoy deeply-rooted ties of friendship, and our goal is to build on the ongoing political and economic cooperation. In the face of today’s critical situations, there is a need for more consultation with each other, and I would like to express my satisfaction with the current level of parliamentary cooperation. I am hopeful that your visit will give new impetus to bilateral relations,” Larijani said.
Following his meeting with Iran’s First Vice President, Karapetian stated that Armenia is ready to offer Iranian partners all privileged trade regimes it enjoys.
“We are interested in the involvement of Iranian business, capital in Armenia. We are willing to step up the level of bilateral trade turnover and remain committed to eliminating all barriers we may face on that road,” said the Armenian Prime Minister.
“We are thankful to our Iranian counterparts for their position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I feel that our Iranian partners have a clear idea of what to do in other platforms, including the intergovernmental commission,” he added.
Es’haq Jahangiri noted, in turn that “the two countries are in the same cultural, civilizational and geographical region, and the relations between the two stem from the depths of centuries and are based on the two peoples’ cultural commonalities.”
“We have no restrictions on cooperation with Armenia in the political, economic and cultural spheres, and the visit of the Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia may play a special role in the development of relations between the two countries in political, economic and cultural spheres,” Iran’s First Vice-President noted.
“Since the Republic of Armenia is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union and has good relations with the European Union, this platform can be positive for the development of relations between the two countries,” said Jahangiri.
“For those companies engaged in transport contracting, construction and economic sectors, an agreement has been reached to create favorable conditions for expanded activities. Armenia can become one of the transport corridors passing through the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea,” he stressed.
“In the framework of the Gas and Electricity Swap Program, we have envisaged the construction of the third high-voltage power transmission line. In addition, the agreements reached today can bolster the development of cooperation,” he added.
“I think that our private sector representatives can benefit from the conditions created, while the availability of free economic zones in both countries can also be a boost to business cooperation,” the Vice-President concluded.
The Armenian Prime Minister concluded his visit with a meeting with the representatives of the local Armenian community at the Ararat Sports and Cultural Complex. During this meeting, he presented the details and results of his visit.
Karapetian stressed that Armenia has great potential for economic cooperation with Iran and there are various proposals already being implemented.
“I suggest you become a strong bridge between Armenia and Iran not only for patriotic motives, but also through profitable business projects,” said Karapetian. “I am convinced that there are opportunities to implement profitable programs in Armenia, and my government will support any such undertaking.”
He also discussed the economic growth that has already taken place in Armenia as well as the reforms initiated by the Armenian government to provide favorable conditions for businesses.
“We are determined to develop transparency and equal conditions for our country’s economy and business. I am confident that we have all the necessary prerequisites to meet the growth target,” said Karapetian.
The Prime Minister concluded the meeting by answering a number of questions concerning the development of Armenian-Iranian economic cooperation, the programs implemented in Armenia, the planned steps and projects in industry, tourism, transport, education, science, culture, as well as the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.