YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Iran’s reformist President Hassan Rouhani’s reelection is good for Armenia, since it means that the implementation of the agreements reached between the two neighboring countries recently will not be delayed, an expert in Yerevan believes.
“We will not have any loss of time,” Vartan Voskanian, who specializes in Iranian studies, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), commenting on Rouhani’s May 19 victory in the Islamic Republic’s presidential election.
“We will have the same team [in Tehran] that is committed to developing relations with Armenia,” he added.
Rouhani beat his main challenger, conservative ex-prosecutor Ebrahim Raisi in the first round of the election, polling nearly 57 percent of the vote and winning another four-year term as president.
“There are certain processes within Iran, but one should not expect any political upheavals or post-election developments,” said Voskanian. “The population in Iran is generally satisfied and even representatives of the team opposed to Rouhani have recognized the results of the election. Iran’s supreme spiritual leader has blessed by these results,” the expert explained, concluding: “In fact, the elections in Iran are over.”
Some Iranians visiting Armenia also went to cast their ballots at their country’s embassy in Yerevan on Friday. Talking to RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am), most of them said they had voted for continued reforms.
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian over the weekend congratulated President Rouhani on his victory in the presidential election, emphasizing the friendly nature of Yerevan’s relations with Tehran.
In his congratulatory message to Rouhani, Sarkisian, as quoted by his press office, expressed confidence that during the Iranian president’s tenure “the friendly neighborly Iran will continue to develop upward, bringing its considerable and important contribution to the establishment of regional peace and stability.”
“I am hopeful that through our joint efforts, the traditionally warm and friendly Armenian-Iranian relations will continue to develop and strengthen in all areas, registering a qualitatively new level of cooperation between our peoples,” Sarkisian said.
Sarkisian and Rouhani discussed ways of deepening economic ties between the two countries when the Iranian president paid a visit to Armenia late last year. Those include cooperation in the energy and transportation spheres as well as a tax-free zone in Armenia for Iranian manufacturing firms.
Sarkisian also praised Iran for its balanced position on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.