By Emil Danielyan
Armenia voiced on Wednesday serious concern about mounting international pressure on neighboring Iran, with Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian calling for a diplomatic solution to the dispute over Tehran’s nuclear program.
“We are following the developments with regard to Iran very closely and we are very concerned about that because we are a neighboring country,” he told reporters.
“We can only hope under these circumstances that things will not get worse, that Iran and the international community will be able to find a resolution to this uranium enrichment issue and things will be resolved in a peaceful manner and the issue wll not go to the Security Council and no sanctions will be employed by the international community,” added Oskanian.
The United States and the European Union suspect Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons and want to take the matter to the UN Security Council unless the Islamic Republic resumes full cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency. The UN nuclear watchdog’s governing board is scheduled to meet in Vienna on February 2 to decide whether to refer Iran to the Security Council and thereby raise the prospect of international sanctions against its hardline government. Armenia is not among 35 countries making up the IAEA board.
Analysts believe that an escalation of tensions between Iran and the West would jeopardize Yerevan’s ongoing large-scale energy projects with Tehran which it considers vital for Armenia’s energy security. Oskanian clearly acknowledged this.
“We have very good relations with Iran,” he said. “We’ve begun construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to Armenia which is extremely critical for our energy security. And we have many other regional projects that we implement with Iran.”