YEREVAN (RFE/RL) –Iran’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri has arrived in Armenia for a two-day official visit at the invitation of Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamian. The visit is expected to revive the Islamic Republic’s economic ties with its South Caucasus neighbor.
Abrahamian greeted the arriving guest at Yerevan’s Zvartnots Airport in the afternoon. According to a government press release, during his two-day stay in the Armenian capital Jahangiri is due to meet with the Armenian president, parliament speaker, prime minister, as well as the Catholicos of All Armenians.
On the Iranian delegation are the country’s ministers of transport, tourism and cultural values. It is yet unclear what specific issues the Iranian official is going to discuss in Yerevan.
A meeting of the Iranian official and the Armenian prime minister took place later on Wednesday.
During the meeting Armenian Prime Minister Abrahamian said: “We have always placed importance on consistent development of our relations with our friendly neighbor Iran. Iran is one of our most important partners, with which cooperation has a rich agenda.”
Vice-President Jahangiri, for his part, said: “The Republic of Armenia has its own place in the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and we have no limitations in terms of developing our relations with Armenia.”
Jahangiri is the highest Iranian official to have arrived in Armenia since 2011 when then Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad paid a visit. His trip comes shortly after Iran and Western powers have signed a historic nuclear deal that also implies a gradual removal of international sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.
During the three months following the Iran-West agreement Yerevan and Tehran have already signed an energy sector contract worth around $120 million under which construction of a third high-voltage transmission line will be restarted.
RFE/RL’s Radio Farda correspondent Roobik Ghahraman Monasian has expressed an opinion that the main purpose of Vice-President Jahangiri’s visit to Yerevan is to revive Armenian-Iranian economic projects that were suspended due to sanctions. Monasian said he followed the Iranian media reports regarding the visit of the official to Armenia.
“It is said that the vice-president is coming with a serious political and economic delegation, and both political and economic aspects are accentuated. There are also businessmen with him, in Armenia he will meet with Armenian and Iranian businessmen,” said Monasian