Yesterday (4 October) the foreign minister of Armenia, Ararat Mirzoyan, met with his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, as part of a working visit to Tehran.
Mirzoyan and Amir Abdollahian reportedly discussed a wide range of issues on bilateral and multilateral co-operation, and commended the high-level of trust and friendly relations which has persisted between the two nations.
According to the Armenian readout, the foreign ministers discussed the deepening of economic ties by taking targeted steps to increase trade volume, increasing tourism and cultural exchange, as well as the importance of signing an implementing the “Persian Gulf-Black Sea corridor”. Additionally, they touched upon co-operation in energy and transport infrastructure, which included the potential for an alternative to the Goris-Kapan interstate road, the construction of a north-south highway, and the perspectives for a gas project. Also on the agenda was the subject of regional security, with the pair discussing the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as alleged Azerbaijani aggression. According to the Armenian readout, the Ministers stressed the inadmissibility of Azerbaijan's actions endangering stability, and highlighted the need for more co-operation in addressing regional challenges.
After the meeting, Mirzoyan and Amir Abdollahian made a joint statement for the press. The Armenian minister stated: “During our discussions with Minister Abdullahian in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual trust, we commended the high level of Armenian-Iranian relations and the regularity of high-level contacts. We stressed that our partnership is based on the centuries-old brotherhood, and expressed mutual readiness to deepen our strategic partnership in all directions”.
On the issue of transport, he added: “Indeed, one of the important topics of our meeting today was the recent challenges of transport transition and the ways to overcome them. I have briefed the honourable Mr. Minister on the details of the road construction, as well as the existing challenges and informed that the bypass road, which is so much discussed, is almost over”. Mirzoyan also hinted at a potential future meeting between the two in Yerevan.
According to the Iranian Tasnim news, Amir Abdollahian highlighted the need for co-operation in economics and transport, while also drawing attention to the security challenges facing the region: “Our region and our northern neighbours are in dire condition, particularly due to the presence of Zionists and terrorists in parts of the region. We will not allow some foreign states to affect Iran’s relations with its neighbors, including Armenia. Our region will by no means tolerate new excessive demands. The problems of the region must be resolved by the people of the region without any foreign intervention”.
This meeting follows a heightening of Iranian-Azerbaijani tensions. On Friday (1 October) Iran decided to hold war games on its border with Azerbaijan in an apparent response to Iranian claims of the presence of Israeli military in Azerbaijan, close to the border.
Azerbaijan has strenuously denied the presence of Israeli military on its territory. Speaking on Monday in Jabrayil, close to the Iranian border, President Ilham Aliyev said, “Unfortunately, Iranian officials began to bring unfounded accusations against us. Allegedly, Azerbaijan brought Israel to this region. Let them open their eyes and see. Where did they see Israel here ?! There is not a single person here. There is not even any building here”.