President Serzh Sarkisian will fly to Tehran on August 5 to attend the inauguration ceremony of his recently reelected Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, it was announced on Monday.
Rouhani will be sworn in for a second term more than two months after winning Iran’s presidential election. An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday that “many” foreign leaders and dignitaries are due to attend the ceremony.
Sarkisian expressed confidence that “traditionally warm and friendly Armenian-Iranian relations will continue to develop and strengthen in all areas” when he congratulated Rouhani on his reelection in May. The Armenian leader was also present at Rouhani’s first inauguration in August 2013.
Armenia has long maintained close relations with Iran, one of the landlocked South Caucasus state’s two commercial conduits to the outside world. Rouhani underscored that rapport when he paid an official visit to Yerevan last December. He said Iran will increase exports of natural gas to Armenia and deepen broader economic ties with its Christian neighbor.
Armenia plans to launch a “free economic zone” near its border with Iran before the end of this year.
After talks with Sarkisian, the Iranian president also called for a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Sarkisian, for his part, again praised Tehran’s “balanced” stance on the unresolved conflict.