Ahead of the two-day visit of Iran’s First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri to Armenia, “Zhamanak” observes that it is going to be the highest-level visit of an Iranian official to the country in recent years. “Perhaps in no other interstate relation the parties speak so much about warm ties and mutual interests, on the other hand there is almost no specific work behind these words and the strategically important Armenian-Iranian direction that has a great potential is, in fact, limited to issues of small commodity exchange. Of the strategic projects so far realized was only the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, but its strategic importance again is limited to the narrow circle of commodity exchange,” writes the paper, implying that the project has not turned Armenia into a transit country.
“Haykakan Zhamanak” also addresses the upcoming visit of the top Iranian official to Armenia and focuses on economic issues. “In its relations with Iran Armenia has a major problem that requires a solution. The matter concerns the signing of an agreement on a free trade zone between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and Iran. Armenia should be the most interested party in this matter. One can say that this issue should also have been raised as a precondition during Armenia’s negotiations for EEU membership. Without this agreement, in two years’ time when Armenian preferences in EEU membership end, Iran will become a third country for us and in trade with it high EEU customs duties will be applied. And trade with Iran will further fall. But despite this prospect Armenia does not appear to be making efforts to promote this agreement.”
In an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar” political analyst Alexander Iskandarian addresses the upcoming referendum on constitutional amendments: “Referendums and elections are two different things. During parliamentary and especially presidential elections the voters know whom or what political force they cast their votes for. In the case with a referendum the matter concerns some document about which voters, to put it mildly, have a very vague idea.”
“Hraparak” comments on the European Union’s authorizing negotiations on a new agreement with Armenia: “Almost five months have passed since the Riga summit [of the Eastern Partnership] and it took the EU Council that long to approve the mandate requested by the European Commission. European diplomats were saying that the reason was purely technical as the authorization draft was to be translated into all 28 official languages of the EU and that from now on the negotiations will proceed quickly. In reality, however, it is not ruled out that it was out of political considerations that the approval of the mandate was dragged out till October. It is possible that officials in Brussels waited for the presidential election in Belarus and after not recognizing their results decided to negotiate with Armenia separately.”