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Iranian Speaker Praises Ties With Armenia


Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (left) meets with Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, in Yerevan on October 9.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian (left) meets with Iran's parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, in Yerevan on October 9.

YEREVAN -- Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani has praised his country's deepening relations with Armenia and described them as important for regional security during an official visit to Yerevan, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Official Armenian sources said Larijani also stressed the importance of large-scale commercial projects planned or already implemented by the two neighboring states during talks with President Serzh Sarkisian and other Armenian leaders over the weekend.

Sarkisian's office quoted Larijani as saying that Armenian-Iranian relations could serve as a "good basis for maintaining regional stability."

"Our people regard our country, your people, as a centuries-old friend, as a trustworthy and close partner," Sarkisian told Larijani in televised remarks. "I am glad that our relations are at a good level today."

A statement by the presidential press service said both men welcomed the upcoming construction of two hydroelectric power plants on the Armenian-Iranian border, a fuel pipeline, and a third transmission line linking the countries' power grids.

It said they also reaffirmed plans to build an Armenian-Iranian railway.

Larijani also discussed these projects at a separate meeting on October 9 with Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian. "The interlocutors discussed promising directions for expanding bilateral economic cooperation," the Armenian government said in a statement.

The Armenian prime minister is scheduled to travel to Tehran later this month on an official visit.

The unresolved conflict over the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorno-Karabakh and other regional issues were also on the agenda of Larijani's talks in Yerevan. Armenian parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian reiterated Yerevan's appreciation of Tehran's "impartial" position on the conflict.

Meeting with Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, Larijani criticized certain unnamed countries that he said were "attempting to destabilize the region." According to the daily "Tehran Times," he said that "all regional countries must stand against these malicious measures."

The Iranian speaker later denounced U.S. policy in the region during a speech at Yerevan State University.
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