By Armen Zakarian
President Robert Kocharian met on Wednesday with Iran’s powerful spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on the second day of his official visit to Tehran, officials accompanying him said.
According to a senior Armenian diplomat, the two men had a “very interesting conversation,” with Khamenei calling for “the continuation of the centuries-old friendship” between the Armenian and Iranian peoples. The Armenian ambassador in Tehran, Gegham Gharibjanian, told RFE/RL that Khamenei also praised Iran’s 300,000-strong Armenian community for its role in the country’s political and socioeconomic life.
Photo: Kocharian and Khatami during Tuesday's talks
The meeting with the Islamic Republic’s top cleric was preceded by further talks between Kocharian and Iranian President Mohammad Khatami. Gharibjanian said the two leaders, joined by several government ministers from each side, discussed final details of twelve mainly economic agreements that are due be signed at the end of Kocharian’s trip on Thursday.
Iranian sources reported that that Kocharian and Khatami agreed the previous day on the need to deepen the already cordial Armenian-Iranian relationship. Khatami was quoted as describing Armenia as a “good neighbor” which has sought close ties with his country ever since it became independent ten years ago. He also said the two states have an opportunity to expand their economic cooperation.