Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian reiterated on Wednesday that Armenia will steer clear of any “anti-Iranian” and “anti-American” actions after the latest upsurge in tensions between neighboring Iran and the United States.
Pashinian discussed with senior Armenian officials the fallout from the assassination of prominent Iranian General Qassem Soleimani. A photograph of the meeting posted by him on Facebook showed that Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan and the Armenian army chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian, were among those officials.
Pashinian gave no details of the meeting in the social media post. “The situation in the region is worrying,” he wrote instead.
“Our position remains the same: Armenia will not be drawn into anti-Iranian actions, Armenia will not be drawn into anti-American actions, and our hope and appeal to our friends Iran and the U.S. is to immediately embark on negotiations to prevent a further deterioration of the situation,” he added.
Pashinian made a similar statement on Sunday following a phone conversation between Mnatsakanian and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Mnatsakanian urged Tehran and Washington to de-escalate their tensions. He also offered condolences to his Iranian counterpart over Soleimani’s death.
Yerevan was quick to express serious concern after Friday’s U.S. strike in Iraq which killed the commander of Iran's elite Quds Force as well as other Iranian military officials and their Iraqi allies. But unlike Russia, Armenia’s main ally, it stopped short of explicitly condemning the assassination.
Soleimani’s killing raised fresh fears in Yerevan of a direct military conflict between the U.S. and Iran which could further complicate Armenia’s transport and trade links to the outside world. Armenia’s top diplomats and military officials discussed potential consequences of the crisis at separate emergency meetings held on Friday.