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Armenia Hopes For Iran Sanctions Relief


Iran - Foreignt Ministers Ararat Mirzoyan (left) of Armenia and Hossein Amir-Abdolahian of Iran meet in Tehran, October 4, 2021

Armenia expressed hope on Wednesday that negotiations to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers will resume soon and result in the lifting of U.S. economic sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic.

Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said that would give a major boost to economic ties between the two neighboring states.

Armenian-Iranian relations are based on “mutual trust” and both Yerevan and Tehran are committed to deepening them in “economic, political and other spheres,” Mirzoyan said in an interview with the Paris-based magazine Nouvelles d’Armenie publicized by the Armenian Foreign Ministry.

Former President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark agreement with Iran in 2018 and reimposed crippling punitive measures, despite Tehran’s compliance with the deal that curbed its nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. In response, Tehran has gradually breached limits imposed by the pact, including on uranium enrichment.

U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to rejoin the deal if Iran returns to full compliance. But six rounds of indirect negotiations in Vienna that began in April failed to reach agreement and the talks were put on hold after Iran's presidential election in June that brought anti-Western hard-liner Ebrahim Raisi to power.

AUSTRIA -- European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, June 20, 2021.
AUSTRIA -- European External Action Service (EEAS) Deputy Secretary General Enrique Mora and Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Abbas Araghchi wait for the start of talks on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in Vienna, June 20, 2021.

Tehran is expected this week to give a precise date for the resumption of talks with the world powers, scheduled for the end of this month, according to top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri. On October 30, the leaders of the United States, Germany, France, and Britain called on Iran to return to nuclear talks and resume compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord to prevent a "dangerous escalation."

The U.S. sanctions have slowed or prevented the implementation of Armenian-Iranian energy projects, notably the ongoing construction by an Iranian firm of a third power transmission line connecting Armenia to Iran. They have also have had a negative impact on broader commercial ties between the two countries.

Meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Tajikistan on September 17, Raisi said an Armenian-Iranian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation should become “more active.” The Iranian president proposed that Yerevan and Tehran set up “specialized working groups” that would deal with obstacles to their joint projects.

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