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New Armenian, Iranian FMs Talk In First Phone Call


Armenia - An Armenian Foreign Ministry combo photo of Foreign Ministers Ararat Mirzoyan (left) of Armenia and Hossein Amir Abdollahian of Iran, September 1, 2021.

The recently appointed foreign ministers of Armenia and Iran have reaffirmed their governments’ plans to deepen relations between the two neighboring countries during their first phone conversation.

Armenia’s Ararat Mirzoyan phoned his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir Abdollahian late on Wednesday one week after Iran’s parliament confirmed the latter as foreign minister.

According to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, Amir Abdollahian told Mirzoyan that Tehran is “ready to deepen relations” with Yerevan.

Iran’s new President Ebrahim Raisi pledged to strive for closer Armenian-Iranian ties when he met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Tehran on August 5. Pashinian was among foreign leaders who travelled to the Iranian capital to attend Raisi’s inauguration.

In a statement, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said Mirzoyan and Amir Abdollahian had a detailed discussion on “productive cooperation” between their states.

“Prospects for expanding cooperation in the economic sphere were especially emphasized,” it said.

Regional security and ongoing Armenian-Azerbaijani border disputes were also on the agenda, according to the statement, with Mirzoyan bringing up the recent “illegal infiltration of Azerbaijan’s armed forces into the sovereign territory of Armenia.”

“The Iranian foreign minister said all countries should respect internationally recognized borders,” said the official Iranian readout of the phone call. “He underlined the need for finding a peaceful solution to disputes between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijani troops briefly blocked last week a section of the main highway connecting Armenia to Iran which runs along a disputed portion of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

The Iranian Embassy in Yerevan expressed concern over the two-day blockage which disrupted cargo traffic between Armenia and Iran. It expressed hope that the Armenian government will speed up work on “alternative routes” for Iranian-Armenian trade.

Amir Abdollahian, 57, is an anti-Western hardliner believed to have close ties with Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. He was a deputy foreign minister between 2011 and 2016 and served until recently as a senior adviser to Iran’s parliament speakers.

In March 2020, Amir Abdollahian criticized the Armenian government’s decision to open an embassy in Israel, saying that it will have a “negative impact on stability and security in the region.”

Yerevan recalled the Armenian ambassador in Tel Aviv just days after outbreak of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27, 2020 in protest against Israel's continuing arms supplies to Azerbaijan.

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