YEREVAN — Iranian Ambassador to Armenia Mohammad Raiesi believes that the upcoming lifting of international sanctions against Iran will speed up the implementation of its joint energy projects with Armenia, echoing similar statements by Armenian officials.
“Rest assured that the lifting of international sanctions against Iran will have a concrete impact on Armenian-Iranian projects,” said Reisi. “After the lifting of the sanctions Iran will be able to further develop its relations with neighbors.”
“We have very good relations with Armenia and those relations will deep further,” he told a news conference on Friday in Yerevan.
Reisi announced in that context that Iran’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri is due to visit Yerevan next month for talks that will focus on bilateral commercial ties. He said Jahangiri will primarily concentrate on the planned construction of a new high-voltage transmission line that will enable Armenia to import much more Iranian natural gas and pay for it with electricity supplied to the Islamic Republic.
Armenia and Iran have signed numerous projects, which have not, however, been implemented. According to ambassador Raiesi, the projects will prove beneficial to both countries economies.
Among the projects are an electric energy exchange program, a hydro-power plant project in Meghri, North-South corridor construction project and others.
The envoy implied that the Iranian government will be able to finance the transmission line’s construction project after the anticipated unfreezing of its overseas assets as part of a sanctions relief envisaged by Tehran’s nuclear agreement with six world powers.
The transmission line’s construction was supposed to get underway in 2012. Armenian Deputy Energy Minister Areg Galstian said last year that it has been delayed because “the bank financing it has run into difficulties.”
Both Armenian and Iranian officials have also blamed the sanctions for repeated delays in the $350 million construction of a major hydroelectric complex on the Armenian-Iranian border. In particular, Reisi last year cited serious restrictions on cash operations between Armenian and Iranian banks that were imposed by the Armenian government.