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Armenian Defense Chief Discusses Regional Security In Iran

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian (left) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki in Tehran on July 18.

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian (left) meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki in Tehran on July 18.

YEREVAN -- Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian discussed Armenian-Iranian cooperation and regional security issues with Iranian political and military leaders during an official weekend visit to Tehran, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Ohanian met with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi, and Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki during the trip.

Official Armenian and Iranian sources said both sides reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening bilateral ties, including in the area of defense.

"During all official meetings, the parties emphasized that the millennia-old, Armenian-Iranian cooperation contributes to the strengthening of peace and stability in our region," the Armenian Defense Ministry said in a statement on July 19.

It added that Ohanian and Ahmadinejad "underlined broad possibilities" of expanding Armenian-Iranian relations.

"Cordial bonds between Iran and Armenia will help maintain peace and stability in the region," Ohanian said, according to Iran's Press TV. "Regional problems can and should be addressed through the collective wisdom of regional states."

Ohanian and Vahidi also reviewed "the current state of international and regional security and possible developments," and expressed their satisfaction with "the current level of political dialogue" between their countries, the statement said.

"Expanding defense ties between regional states will greatly help avert and manage the crises and dangers that threaten the region," Vahidi told his Armenian counterpart, specifically listing "terrorism" and "intervention by extraregional forces."

Vahidi himself is considered a terrorist suspect by the United States and Israel.

Mottaki, for his part, reportedly called for the creation of an "interregional mechanism" for resolving regional conflicts and closer ties between Tehran and Yerevan.

This echoes an earlier discussion between himself and Armenian leaders during a visit to Yerevan last January, during which Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian told Mottaki that Armenia viewed Iran as "a reliable partner and a country with a pivotal significance in the region."

Sarkisian also praised Tehran's "balanced" position on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.