President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday congratulated Hassan Rohani on winning Iran’s presidential election, expressing confidence that Armenian-Iranian relations will grow even closer during his tenure.
“I am convinced that the traditional friendship and high-level political dialogue between the Republic of Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue an upward course of development by registering new achievements to the benefit of the welfare of the two countries,” read a congratulatory letter released by Sarkisian’s office.
“I remember with fondness our meetings in Yerevan and Tehran,” wrote Sarkisian. “I believe that with joint efforts we will elevate Armenian-Iranian inter-state relations to a qualitatively new level.”
Sarkisian and Rohani have met on at least two occasions in the past. Rohani visited Yerevan in 2001 and held talks with Sarkisian, Armenia’s defense minister at the time, in his capacity as head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. The moderate cleric hailed Armenia’s “pivotal” role in regional security during that trip. He also called for Yerevan’s involvement in the creation of what he described as a “North-South axis.”
Sarkisian also met Rohani as well as other Iranian leaders during a 2005 visit to Tehran. They discussed ways of deepening bilateral ties.
Relations between the two neighboring states remained cordial during the eight-year presidency of Rohani’s controversial predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It saw the construction of a pipeline supplying Iranian natural gas to Armenia and the start of work on a big hydroelectric plant on the Armenian-Iranian border.
Ahmadinejad and Sarkisian pledged to speed up the plant’s construction and launch more bilateral energy projects when they met in Yerevan in late 2011. The two leaders discussed the implementation of those projects in a phone call last October.