Echoing the dominant mood in their home country, Iranian nationals living in Armenia welcomed on Wednesday Iran’s landmark nuclear agreement with six world powers which envisages the lifting of international sanctions imposed on Tehran.
They said the sanction relief would not only improve the economic situation in Iran but also help to strengthen its close ties with Armenia, the Islamic Republic’s sole Christian neighbor.
“The whole Iran is celebrating now,” Naser Etemat, an Iranian man, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “I share the joy of my nation from outside Iran. That is wonderful news for the Iranian people,”
“We have to wait and see those changes,” cautioned Mohammad Ashraf, a young Iranian studying economics at an Armenian university. “Not much will change for Iranians. What will change is the world’s attitude towards to Iran.”
“The country will open up, more tourists will come, and everyone will be able to see our development,” he added.
Many of the several thousand Iranians residing in Armenia are ethnic Armenians. Hayk Karamian is one of them, having moved to his ancestral homeland with his family several years ago.
“Iran won’t change, Iran will remain Iran. It’s the world that will need to accept the new Iran,” said Karamian. He also expressed confidence that the nuclear deal reached in Vienna on Tuesday will boost peace and stability in the South Caucasus.
“We should obviously expect improvements,” agreed Gevik Davtian, another Iranian Armenian. “If Iran manages to correctly use its sheer size and resources in doing business with the rest of the world and if it gets more freedom in the international arena, then the people’s living standards will improve.”
The Armenian government was quick to hail the deal on Tuesday. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said it will boost regional security and facilitate closer commercial ties between Armenia and Iran.
Hamlet Vaskian, an Iranian-Armenian businessman based in Yerevan, claimed that the sanction relief could prompt Iran to open its domestic markets to more imports from abroad and Armenia in particular. “The Iranian market is very big but it has been closed until now,” he said. “If it opens up to foreign competition we will have a chance to sell many products there.”