The Iranian Embassy in Yerevan said on its Twitter page that Iran’s government approved a relevant proposal made by the Foreign Ministry in Tehran. It gave no reasons for the decision.
The embassy posted several photographs of Syunik’s historic monuments and other landmarks.
Reacting to the development, an Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman told the Armenpress news agency that Yerevan is planning to open a consulate in an unspecified Iranian city. He did not comment further.
Sandwiched between Azerbaijan and its Nakhichevan exclave, Syunik connects the rest of Armenia to Iran through mountainous roads used not only for Armenian-Iranian trade but also cargo shipments to and from other parts of the world.
Armenia lost control over one of those roads after a controversial troop withdrawal ordered by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian following last year’s war over Nagorno-Karabakh. In September this year, Azerbaijan set up checkpoints there to tax Iranian trucks and other vehicles. The move triggered unprecedented tensions between Tehran and Baku.
An influential Iranian cleric accused Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in October of trying to “cut Iran’s access to Armenia” with Turkey’s help. More than 160 members of Iran’s parliament likewise issued a joint statement warning against “any geopolitical change and alteration of the borders of neighboring countries.”
Visiting Yerevan last week, a conservative Iranian lawmaker, Mahmoud Ahmadi-Bighash, reportedly warned that Tehran is strongly opposed to any redrawing of borders in the South Caucasus. Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made similar statements this fall.
Aliyev has repeatedly threatened to forcibly open a “corridor” to Nakhichevan, drawing strong condemnation from Armenia.
Yerevan says that Azerbaijani troops advanced a few kilometers into Syunik in May and November. The Azerbaijani side denies crossing the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.