YEREVAN — Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami on Monday visited Yerevan and offered to help Armenia upgrade its roads leading to Iran via Syunik province.

Eslami met with Armenian Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure Suren Papikyan to discuss ways of improving transport links between the two neighboring states.

A statement by Papikyan’s press office said he briefed Eslami on the Armenian government’s plans to rebuild or repair key highways passing through Syunik.

The statement said Eslami expressed the Iranian side’s desire to participate in the planned roadwork. Papikyan told him that Yerevan is ready to hire Iranian construction firms for that purpose.

Both men were reported to reaffirm their governments’ commitment to an ambitious project to create a transport corridor that would connect Iran’s Persian Gulf ports to the Black Sea through Armenia and Georgia. Papikyan also said his ministry is working on a bill that would sharply cut transit fees for Iranian firms using Armenian territory for cargo shipments to and from the Islamic Republic.

In what may have a related development, the head of Armenia’s State Revenue Committee (SRC), Edvard Hovannisyan, met with the chief of Iran’s customs service, Mehdi Mirashrafi, during a visit Tehran on Monday.

According to the SRC, the talks focused on the upcoming modernization and expansion of Armenia’s sole border crossing with Iran. Hovannisyan was cited as saying that the new border facilities will facilitate cargo shipments between the two countries and thereby boost bilateral trade.

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