TEHRAN, Dec. 21 (Press Shia Agency) – Iran’s Hassan Rouhani has said Armenia would provide Iran with a venue to improve free trade.
Mr. Rouhani heads a delegation of entrepreneurs to Caucasus republic of Armenia. On Wednesday, Rouhani and his counterpart Serzh Sargsyan chaired a joint high commission in Erivan to discuss prospects of trade, and as President Rouhani said, to improve ties in energy, transportation, especially railroad, and environment.
“Iran and Armenia could link Persian Gulf to the Black Sea in two extremities of the north-south corridor, part of the grander scheme of the Silk Road propagated by China to transform modes of trade in the larger part of the Eurasian plateau,” Rouhani told the meeting. “With historical relations and cultural links to Armenia, Iran is the proper option to improve ties with; in terms of trade, Iran’s priority is to boost free trade. Energy already provides both sides to work in the desired path.”
Aras Free Zone in borders with Armenia in the northwest had been a focal point and President Rouhani touched the zone as a venue where the private sectors of Armenia and Iran could bring a boom to trade; however, president touched the environmental issues arising from Armenia’s activities which environmental activists believe had been largely detrimental to the ecosystem of the eponymous river, Araxes, so important for the livelihoods of the population settled in its banks.
Rouhani also told the meeting that Iran would welcome contribution to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with Republic of Azerbaijan; “Iran wants to see both Caucasian republics work in a win-win situation to bring stability to the region and their own nations through hitting a fair solution for the conflict,” he told Mr. Sargsyan, who co-chaired the session and addressed it; “recently, there has been a good condition for Tehran and Erivan to improve relations; both sides hail improvements in trade, economic relations, and cultural exchanges; Armenia in particular, would embrace cooperation with its southern neighbor in water, energy, and transportation as major modes of economic relations,” he added.
He also lavished praise upon Iran’s conduct in fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria, which Armenia sees in positive lights in terms of brining stability to the region.