Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 169

Senior Armenian officials and the visiting deputy foreign minister of Iran, Mahmud Vaezi, discussed plans to expand bilateral trade and economic cooperation. The plans include construction of an Iran-Armenia gas pipeline and high-voltage electricity transmission line, Iranian investment in upgrading Armenia’s rail and road network, and a trilateral agreement on the transport of Turkmen gas to Armenia via Iran as part of a three-cornered clearing arrangement among these countries. Armenian trade minister Vahan Melkonian, co-chairman of the bilateral Economic Cooperation Commission, declared that the relationship was a "top economic priority" for Armenia. (Noyan-Tapan, IRNA, September 10)

Iranian vice-president Hassan Habibi is due to visit Armenia shortly. Iran has become a major trade partner of Armenia’s and, mainly because of military conflicts in the Transcaucasus, a critical route for Armenia to the outside world. Armenia’s trade and communications are restricted by Azerbaijan and Turkey on one side, and by the interrupted rail and road links to Russia across Georgia on the other side. Neighboring Iran has to a substantial extent stepped into the void left by Russia as a trade and economic partner of Armenia.

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