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On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Armenian-Iranian diplomatic relations, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran to Armenia Abbas Badakhshan Zohouri gave an interview to NEWS.am.

Read the interview below:

Relations between Armenia and Iran over the past 30 years have been mostly friendly, with some ups and downs. How would you assess Armenian-Iranian relations at the moment?

The political relations between Iran and Armenia are excellent; there is an atmosphere of consensus, mutual support and mutual trust between the two countries. Of course, joint efforts should be made to preserve and deepen these relations. In the economic sphere, relations between the two countries are growing dynamically. Iran's share in Armenia's foreign trade is about 6%, which is higher than its foreign trade figure with other neighboring countries. However, we should not be satisfied with this indicator, we should try to develop trade and economic relations, as well as expand, deepen our relations in the field of infrastructure, such as energy and transport.

After the 44-day war, Iran's foreign minister said Armenia's territorial integrity was a red line for Iran. Azerbaijan continues to claim Armenian lands, especially the Syunik region bordering Iran to the south. President Ilham Aliyev regularly says he will open a corridor through Zangezur by force if necessary. Tehran declares the necessity of preserving the territorial integrity of neighboring countries and the invariability of borders. How important is it for Iran that Armenia's southern borders remain unchanged?

The need to respect internationally recognized borders is a clear position of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which has been affirmed by all officials at various levels. And hardly anyone doubts it. Of course, we welcome the implementation of the agreements reached between the neighboring countries within the framework of respect for the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the countries, we believe this is useful for increasing stability in the region, for the well-being of the people of the region.

Azerbaijan has closed the Goris-Kapan highway under its control and announced that it would not open until winter. In this case, the only way for Iranian trucks to reach Yerevan is via the alternative Tatev-Aghvano road, which becomes difficult to use, in unfavorable weather conditions, especially for trucks with trailers. Given the fact that Iranian trucks often used this road, has Azerbaijan informed Iran of its intention, as it will affect trade between Armenia and Iran?

We were not informed in advance about the situation, whether it was considered probable in terms of expert studies. In connection with the situation on the Goris-Kapan road, we consider the damage to the trade sphere to be short-term. The creation of the existing alternative road, used and improved, has almost solved the problem, but the main solution, which will greatly contribute to increased economic relations between the two countries, is the completion of the North-South road project in Armenia, which will be of international importance.

Will Iran open a consulate in Kapan, Syunik? What are the main reasons for the decision, and when to wait for the end of the process?

The creation of the Consulate General was necessary from various points of view; this initiative shows the serious attention from Iran to regional issues, to facilitate relations between the two countries, especially for the provision of services to Iranian citizens and businesses. We hope that in the near future we will witness the start of the work of the Consulate General. A lot of work has been done in this regard, other related work is "in progress" and is being finalized.

In the new geopolitical situation, when Russia is under Western sanctions and Armenia may face difficulties in export and import, what new opportunities does Iran see to increase trade with Armenia?

The origin of this crisis is not something that can bring happiness from a humanitarian point of view. The position of the Islamic Republic of Iran is clearly stated, it is the need for an immediate cessation of military conflict. But no one can deny the changing conditions that have emerged in different markets in recent months. The situation, especially in the markets for energy and essential commodities, has undergone significant changes, which will complicate the situation for many countries. Despite all these developments, we are striving to expand economic and trade relations with our friendly neighbor Armenia.

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This text available in   Հայերեն and Русский
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