Iranian, Armenian officials discuss regional issues

December 28, 2020 - 22:58

TEHRAN – Top Iranian and Armenia officials held talks on Monday over a range of regional issues more than four weeks after Armenia and Azerbaijan, two neighbors of Iran, agreed to put an end to a 44-day war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian held a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday to discuss regional issues, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Monday.

“On December 28, Foreign Minister Ara Aivazian held a phone conversation with Foreign Minister of Iran Mohammad Javad Zarif. During the conversation, the sides discussed issues of the agenda on bilateral and regional cooperation. The interlocutors touched upon issues of regional security and stability. In this context, the sides underlined the prospects of cooperation aimed at addressing new regional challenges,” the statement said.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the chief Iranian diplomat “conveyed condolences for the victims of the war in Artsakh and expressed solidarity to the people of Armenia.”

Artsakh is the Armenian name of the Armenian enclave in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Armenia and Azerbaijan have recently fought a deadly war that resulted in Azerbaijan retaking most of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“The interlocutors emphasized the importance of further promoting the contacts and dialogue at various levels, based on the centuries-old friendly relations between the two peoples. The sides reiterated mutual readiness to deepen the close cooperation in bilateral and multilateral formats,” the statement concluded.

The phone conversation came a day after Armenia Ambassador to Iran Artashes Toumanian met with Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran (SNSC). The meeting was held on Sunday but it was made public on Monday.

“During the meeting, Mr. Ambassador briefed Mr. Shamkhani about the situation in Armenia, Artsakh and the regional developments as well,” the Armenian embassy in Iran said in a statement on Monday afternoon.

According to the embassy statement, the top Iranian security official “expressed that authorities of Iran are ready to have contributions in expanding the relations of the two countries particularly in this severe situation in Armenia, reiterating the stance of Iran in establishing a stable and lasting peace.”

A day before Toumanian’s meeting with Shamkhani, an Armenian delegation headed by Hakob Vardanyan, deputy minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure, held meetings with Iranian energy officials.

The Armenian embassy in Iran said in a statement on Sunday that “The Armenian deputy minister was received by Bijan Namdar Zanganeh, the Iranian oil minister. Prior to the meeting, a meeting had been held with Amir Hossein Zamaninia, deputy oil minister, to discuss the operational issues.”

According to the embassy, the two sides agreed to make amendments to energy contracts between Tehran and Yerevan. They also agreed to increase gas and electricity trade between Armenia and Iran.

Iran and Armenia enjoy good relations and have sought to deepen their cooperation in various fields. During the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Iran had presented a peace initiative to end the war peacefully.

SM/PA

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