TEHRAN — At the end of the first day of his official visit to Iran, accompanied by Mrs. Anna Hakobyan and the members of his delegation, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with the local Armenian community representatives. The meeting took place at Tehran’s Ararat Sports and Cultural Association. Thousands of Iranian-Armenians attended the meeting. They welcomed the Prime Minister with enthusiasm, warmth and applause.

Prior to addressing the audience, Nikol Pashinyan signed the Book of Honorary Guests at Ararat Sport-Cultural Union. Welcoming the representatives of the Iranian-Armenian community, Nikol Pashinyan stated, in part: “Proud citizens of proud Armenians in Iran, I welcome all of you. It is a great honor for me to be here and enjoy a purely Armenian and homely atmosphere. I want to say that I love all of you, I am proud of you all, I am proud of your spirit, I bow to all of you living far from your homeland in the friendly and brotherly Iran; it is very important that you can provide such an atmosphere. This proves that being a citizen of Iran is not at odds with one’s being Armenian, being from Armenia and focused on Armenia.

Of course, during the revolutionary days of April-May, I had no chance to follow what was happening in our communities, in particular in the Iranian-Armenian community, but I also know that the whole community was closely following the development in the Homeland.

Dear compatriots, I will not hesitate to say that you were full participants of the popular revolution that took place in the Republic of Armenia. No matter who was physically present in Armenia: the changes would not have happened without your support.

Yes, each one of you participated in the non-violent, velvet popular revolution in Armenia with your love and attention, and the triumph of our popular revolution was the personal victory of each of you because it brought unity to the Armenian people; unity that will never be impaired in any way.

I want to make a clear record. Yes, there may be discussions, debates, different approaches and views on issues related to the Diaspora in Armenia, but I want to set a task before us, first and foremost before me and our government: we must rule out any such action as may cast doubt on the unprecedented national unity that the Armenian people enjoy today in Armenia, in Iran and in the Diaspora. That unity is out of any political and party interests, our national unity is exalted above all, and we all serve that national unity.

I cannot help addressing words of respect and appreciation to Ararat Club, which has been able to create such an exclusive Armenian hearth through individual efforts, the efforts of individual groups and the efforts of individual parties. This is truly our common pride: thanks to the beloved participants and organizers of Ararat Club. I would like to emphasize that this service is unique not only for the Armenian community of Iran, but also for Armenians and the Republic of Armenia.

I also want to emphasize the exceptional service provided by the Iranian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, and the Armenian Evangelical Church in the Iranian-Armenian community here.

The fact that all of us are here under the same roof, emphasizes that a truly new chapter has been opened in the history of our people, and each of us has a share to take by writing and creating that part of our history.
The greatest mission of our revolution and the government is that each of us, each one of you, as a whole, not only believes in the future of our homeland, our nation, but also is confident that we will be victorious in the 21st century. This is a new nationwide march with which we should open a new page in our nation’s history. We can record your loyalty to the values that led to the non-violent, velvet popular revolution.

We no longer have separate agendas for Armenia and the Diaspora: we have a national agenda aimed at achieving national goals. I have repeatedly stated that while suffering, our people have always dreamed, we have dreamed of new victories, new happiness and new unity.

I want to say that the time has come to materialize our long-cherished dreams, and your presence here testifies to the fact that we are united on the way to implementing our aspirations, whether it be Armenia’s economic empowerment, the enforcement of Artsakh people’s legitimate demand, or the realization of our dreams. We must build our future with our own hands.

Our destiny is no longer in the East, in the North and in the South, but in our hands, and as dignified citizens, we must grasp the fate of our destiny, and as a state, we must head for ever new victories. But I also want to emphasize that the realization of these dreams depends on each one, especially on me and my government.

You have fulfilled your duty today because I got so much energy from the meeting that once back to Armenia, I will endeavor with doubled, tripled, fourfold energy. I would like to thank you for such a meeting and atmosphere.

Long live freedom! Long live the Republic of Armenia! Long live the Armenian-Iranian friendship! Long live our children and we as we are living and will live as dignified and victorious sons of a free, proud and dignified people. Thank you.”

In conclusion, Prime Minister Pashinyan answered a number of questions concerning the strengthening of Armenia-Diaspora relations, the results of today’s talks, his government’s priorities, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement, the Armenian-Turkish relations and other topics.

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