The Forum for Partners in Iran's Marketplace

January 2018, No. 86

Trade & Business

Armenia Wants Iranian Gas

Iran and its northern neighbor Armenia plan to establish a free trade zone in the border region to enhance mutual economic and trade ties.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran and Yerevan intend to increase economic collaboration and strengthen bonds of friendship.

Rouhani made the statement in a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetyan in Tehran (Oct. 11).

Expressing satisfaction with the harmonious course of political relations between the two countries, he said the two governments will work harder to exploit their untapped potentials for closer economic cooperation.

“The Iranian government sees no boundaries for expansion of relations with neighboring countries, particularly Armenia,” he said, adding that energy, transit and industrial fields can be appropriate sectors for developing greater cooperation.

Rouhani stressed the need for promoting peace in the chaotic region, saying Tehran and Yerevan can work to ease the “worrying” situation in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.

“War and escalating regional tensions are to nobody’s interest and all regional governments must work toward lasting peace and calm,” he said.

Karapetyan invited Iranian businesses to invest more in the Caucasian country’s free trade zones.

The Armenian prime minister lauded Iran’s policy of promoting friendship in the international arena. “Iran’s balanced positions on regional issues are helpful to peace and stability in the region,” he said.

A day earlier, Karapetyan and Iran’s Vice President Ishaq Jahangiri co-chaired a meeting between the two sides’ economic delegations, where three memorandums of understanding were signed in cultural, technological and veterinary fields.

During the meeting, Jahangiri said Iran is keen on deepening relations with neighboring countries, and sees no obstacle to boosting cooperation with its neighbors, especially Armenia.

Lauding Tehran-Yerevan ties as “age-old,” the VP said the relationship between the two nations is based on numerous commonalities.

Jahangiri also said various fields of gas, electricity, agriculture, converting industries, technical and engineering services, as well as transport, can be among the areas of cooperation between the two countries.

Meanwhile, Karapetyan pointed to some joint projects and stressed the need to eliminate the problems hampering the implementation of these projects.

The Armenian prime minister also emphasized his country’s readiness to boost bilateral trade with Iran remarkably.

Heading a high-ranking delegation, Karapetyan arrived in Tehran Oct. 10 at the invitation of Jahangiri. 

Free Trade Zone

The Armenian prime minister lauded Iran’s policy of promoting friendship in the international arena.

Iran and its northern neighbor Armenia plan to establish a free trade zone in the border region to enhance mutual economic and trade ties.

The plan was announced by visiting Armenian PM in a meeting with Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Tehran on Oct. 10.

“Yerevan has invited Eurasian and European parties to get involved in the free trade zone activities,” Karapetyan was quoted as saying.

“The free trade zone would be of significance for foreign businesses given its proximity to Iran,” he said, adding that Iranian merchants could gain economic boom in the zone by taking an active role.

He expressed Armenia’s willingness to form a new type of relations with Iran with a new outlook.

For his part, Larijani pointed to the reciprocal investment between the two neighbors, saying they should develop a clear understanding of each other’s trade needs.

He also hailed the decision by Yerevan to remove visa requirements for travels between Iran and Armenia, saying it has greatly helped the tourism industry in both countries. 

More Gas Imports from Iran

Armenia is willing to import more gas from Iran, Karapetyan said at a meeting with Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh in Tehran (Oct. 11).

At the meeting, the sides explored avenues for boosting natural gas trade.

“Apart from the natural gas that is exchanged with electricity between the two states, Armenia is willing to import more gas from Iran,” Karapetyan said, noting that serious talks are underway with the National Iranian Gas Company.

According to him, swapping natural gas from Turkmenistan to Armenia was another issue the two sides nodded in agreement.

“Tehran has agreed to cooperate with Yerevan in swap operations,” he added without elaborating.

Welcoming Armenia’s interest in purchasing more natural gas from Iran, Zangeneh said promoting collaboration with the neighboring state in gas and power sectors is on the agenda.

The two sides also exchanged views about establishing a joint venture for transferring Iran’s gas to Georgia, among other destinations, via Armenia.

In 2004, Tehran signed a 20-year contract with Yerevan to export gas to its northern neighbor. Based on the agreement, Iran’s natural gas is used by Armenian power plants to generate electricity, which is then exported to Iran. The cross-border gas pipeline was commissioned in 2007 and exports began in mid 2009. Armenia’s Energy Minister Levon Yolyan has already offered the prospect of raising gas imports from Iran to more than 3 million cubic meters per day by 2018 from the present 1 mcm/d.

Reportedly, Iran and Armenia are already connected by two power transmission lines and a third power line, to be completed by the end of 2018 at an estimated cost of $107 million, is part of an agreement reached by Iran, Russia, Armenia and Georgia to synchronize their power grids by 2019.

The new infrastructure will raise Iran-Armenia electricity exchange capacity fourfold to around 1,200 megawatts. 

Cooperation in All Fields

Iranian Economy Minister Masoud Karbasian held talks (Oct. 12) with Head of the Armenian government’s State Revenue Committee (SRC), Vardan Harutyunyan.

During the meeting, the Iranian side pointed to the broad scope of activities carried out by the Ministry of Economy, saying “the body undertakes the largest portion of international economic interactions in Iran and given the high level of political relations between Iran and Armenia, bilateral business ties need to be developed.”

He described Armenia as a close regional friend of Iran, adding that the friendship between the two countries should be strengthened through further economic relations.

“Within the framework of tariff preferences, Iran and Armenia will apply reductions against goods entering the two countries,” Karbasian stated.

He also highlighted the need for expansion of banking ties, cooperation in free trade zones, avoidance of double taxation and investment in joint productions by the two states.

For his part, Harutyunyan expressed satisfaction with the holding of the meeting and called for development of economic relations between the two countries.

Referring to Tehran-Yerevan age-old history of relations, he voiced his country’s preparedness to expand economic relations in IT and customs sectors. 

Internet Transit for Turkmenistan

Meanwhile, Iran’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi met his Armenian counterpart Vahan Martirosyan and discussed cooperation opportunities in the fields of internet bandwidth transit, cybersecurity and postal exchange between the two countries.

Referring to constructive ties between the two nations, the Iranian ICT minister said Tehran and Yerevan need to promote their bilateral relations.

He pointed to cooperation with Armenia in the area of international internet transit, adding, “In the past two years, Iraq’s transit to Europe via Armenia has increased by 10 times. In light of that, we decided to conduct trilateral negotiations in order to pave the way for international transit to Turkmenistan, in the same way.”

Azari Jahormi also invited Armenia’s ICT authorities to participate in Tehran’s International Telecom Exhibition, saying that the opportunity would familiarize them with the potentials of Iran’s private sector for cooperation purposes.

The two ICT ministers also conferred on increasing postal exchange and developing data centers as part of boosting bilateral ties.

Martirosyan, for his part, pointed to the deep-rooted relations of Iran and Armenia and stated that he will address the topics raised in the meeting more seriously.

He also noted that the two countries will further their cooperation in the fields of internet transit, postal exchange, information technology and cybersecurity.

He invited Iran’s ICT minister to visit Armenia in order to address the topics discussed in the meeting.

Iran Ready to Establish Joint Venture with Armenia

Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Mohammad Shariatmadari also held a meeting with Armenia’s Minister of Economic Development and Investments Suren Karayan.

During the meeting, the Iranian side suggested Armenia to establish a joint company with Iran for boosting bilateral trade exchange.

He described bilateral cooperation on Eurasian talks as admirable, adding that the joint committee of the two countries has begun good talks on preferential tariffs that will be pursued until reaching a final agreement.

He also said that Iran is ready to establish a joint company for advancing goals of the two countries and enhancing cooperation in free trade zones in order to lay grounds for further trade exchanges.


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  January 2018
No. 86