1130 GMT January 17, 2018
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has always sought the establishment of security, stability and peace in the region and the peaceful settlement of regional conflicts and will spare no effort to help regional countries in this regard,” Rouhani said in a meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in Tehran on Sunday.
He added that Iran and Armenia share a common stance on regional and international issues, stressing, “Under the current unfavorable circumstances in the region, we should increase our cooperation and friendship and do not allow minor issues to turn into new pretexts for [others] to conduct acts of terror.”
The Iranian president further pointed to cooperation between Iran and Armenia in the fields of economy, culture, trade, energy, transit and transportation, agriculture and tourism and called for the expansion of bilateral relations, particularly after the implementation of the last year’s nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), between Iran and six global powers.
Following the removal of sanctions against Tehran, a “good opportunity” has been created for Iran and Armenia to boost their trade and economic relations which could lead to the expansion of mutual ties in all fields, he said.
Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the United States, France, Britain, China and Russia – plus Germany started implementing the JCPOA on January 16.
Under the deal, all nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Iran by the European Union, the Security Council and the US would be lifted. Iran has, in return, put some limitations on its nuclear activities.
“In line with the expansion of cooperation between Iran and Armenia in the fields of transit and the transportation of goods, there are currently suitable grounds for us to connect the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf via Armenia and we are ready to give technical and engineering services to Armenia in this regard,” Rouhani pointed out.
Iran-Armenia can cooperate on regional peace, stability
The Armenian foreign minister, for his part, said Iran and Armenia can use the good opportunities created after the JCPOA to strengthen mutual relations and promote regional peace and stability.
Nalbandian added that the two countries are currently implementing joint projects in different fields such as infrastructure, energy and transportation.
He said Armenia has always sought to boost all-out relations with Iran.
Iran, Armenia sign visa waiver deal
At the end of the meeting, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was also present at the meeting, and his Armenian counterpart signed an agreement to ease the visa regime between the two countries.
The Armenian government on Thursday formally approved a draft on visa-free travel between Tehran and Yerevan.
The agreement will allow Iranians and Armenians to travel to the two countries without a visa and stay there for a maximum of 90 days within a 180-day period.
Iran-Armenia visa-free deal key to economic relations
In another development, Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani said on Sunday that the agreement to waive visa requirements for Iranians and Armenians will be important in promoting economic, trade and tourism cooperation between the two countries.
In a meeting with the Armenian foreign minister, Larijani stressed the importance of bolstering parliamentary relations between the two countries.
He further noted that the two countries share a close stance on different issues such as regional crises, expressing concern over the spread of terrorism in the region.
For his part, Nalbandian said the two countries have extensive and cordial relations but must make further efforts to strengthen ties.