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Iran’s Defense Minister Mohammad Reza Ashtiani in a meeting with his visiting Armenian counterpart Suren Papikyan on Wednesday night said the Caucasus region should not allow it to become a competition ground for others, IRNA reports.

Brigadier General Amir Ashtiani argued in support of his remarks that “seeking security outside the region has the opposite outcome, turns the region into a place of power conflict and brings about more challenges to regional peace and stability”.

Ashtiani, in the meeting with Papikyan at the headquarters of the Iranian Ministry of Defense, exchanged views on a wide range of issues, including bilateral relations between Tehran and Yerevan.

Strengthening relations with all its neighbors is part of the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic but Armenia enjoys special importance and the relations between the two have been growing in different areas ever since Armenia’s independence, he said.

The Iranian defense minister also said that Iran has always supported comprehensive peace and stability in the region.

The decisive stance of the Islamic Republic is to support the territorial integrity of the countries in the region and their right to sovereignty over their land and no change to the internationally-recognized borders, Ashtiani emphasized, adding that Iran adheres to this policy in the Caucasus region, support direct negotiations between its two neighbors Azerbaijan and Armenia and consider it a basis for peace, progress, and development.

The Armenia defense minister, for his part, hailed his country’s historical ties and friendship with Iran and expressed Yerevan’s readiness to further boost bilateral relations.

It is very important that both countries have similar views on regional stability, we should strive for closer relations in order to develop and achieve regional security, Papikyan added.

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