YEREVAN — Iran is interested in seeing Armenia strengthen its position in the region and ready to provide “any assistance” for that purpose, the Iranian ambassador in Yerevan Mehdi Sobhani said on Tuesday.

Mehdi Sobhani also reaffirmed Tehran’s support for the Armenian government’s position on transport links with Azerbaijan.

“The common border between Armenia and Iran has been the safest and has served as a guarantee for expanding ties and contacts between the two sides, as well as ensuring the well-being of both peoples. Tehran has demonstrated through its actions that it will not tolerate any geopolitical changes in this region”, Sobhani stated during the meetings.

“Today, Iran pursues the most independent domestic and foreign policy, and without Tehran, not a single equation in the region can be resolved. Our country is part of the solution to the crises and problems of the region. Despite the pressure and conspiracies against Iran over the past 45 years, our country has made significant progress and, despite the sanctions imposed on us, has achieved remarkable advancements in all areas,” Sobhani emphasized.

Yerevan proposed late last year a “Crossroads of Peace” project as a blueprint for opening the Armenian-Azerbaijani border to travel and commerce. The project says that Armenia and Azerbaijan should have full control of transport infrastructure inside each other’s territory. Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian praised it during a December visit to the Armenian capital.

“We welcome and support the Crossroads of Peace project presented by Mr. Pashinyan,” Sobhani told Armenian journalists and analysts. “That project is about maintaining peace and stability in the region and respecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of regional countries. We consider Armenia’s position logical and consistent with international norms.”

“We welcome the unblocking of roads but only if that happens on the basis of the interests and sovereignty of the regional countries,” the envoy said in comments cited by the Armenpress news agency. “We support the strengthening of Armenia and the establishment of peace and stability. Only a balance of forces in our region will contribute to all that. We are ready to provide any assistance that Armenia will need for further development.”

Sobhani indicated Iran’s opposition to the Azerbaijani demands for the so-called “Zangezur corridor” backed by Turkey. The Islamic Republic will not tolerate any “geopolitical changes” in the South Caucasus, he said, echoing statements regularly made by Iranian leaders.

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