The Suspension of Iran Sanctions Opens New Prospects for Armenia: Experts
"Media Center", January 20, Yerevan. The suspension of the international sanctions against Iran opens wide political, economic and energetic prospects for that country in the Middle East and the South Caucasus. The end of Iran’s international isolation will give Armenia a good opportunity to intensify the economic and energetic cooperation with Tehran. There is a good chance to intensify also tourism from Iran to Armenia and vice versa, as well as to unite the tourism markets of two countries. This is the opinion of the experts, expressed during the discussion at Media Center.

USA Secretary of State John Kerry and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini announced about the suspension of sanctions against Iran some days ago.

The announcement was made on January 16 in Vienna. It is significant that the USA suspended only the sanctions of the secondary importance that restricted Iran to sign contracts with physical and legal entities of the third country, as well as with the foreign branches of American companies. Restrictions for the American companies are still in force. 

Iran's intention to provide 1 million barrel oil in the international market daily will significantly reduce the oil price. Vardan Voskanyan, Head of the Chair of the Iranian Studies, said about this. "The withdrawal of Iran from the international isolation is just a chance. We should not expect positive changes tomorrow. It is necessary to work to have positive results," Voskanyan said.  

Vardan Voskanyan, Economist Artak Manukyan and Energetic Expert Vahe Davtyan participated in the discussion on "The economic, political and energetic consequences of the suspension of Iran's international sanctions for the South Caucasus" on January 20 at Media Center.

Artak Manukyan saidthat we should not expect that after the suspension the Armenian-Iranian trade and economic ties will intensify. "According to the statistics of the last 11 months, Armenia's export to Iran comprises about 70 million USD and the import comprises 180 million USD. Mainly aluminum and pharmaceutical products are exported from Armenia," he said and added that Armenia should pay attention to tourism development with Iran. "As a result of the reduction of oil prices, the prices of air-tickets will also reduce. This is a chance to unite the tourism markets, to propose joint tour packages to the tourists visiting Armenia and Iran," he said. 

Manukyan said that in the new situation Armenia and Iran had an opportunity to establish joint ventures of processing raw materials. "For example, it can be a venture of processing molybdenum.  Armenia has 7% of the world's molybdenum resources. Iran also has such resources. The parties can jointly provide the entire processing cycle and produce the final product. In this case, we will not export raw materials and after the processing obtain copper, for example, at higher prices," he said.

Vahe Davtyan spoke about Armenia-Iran energy cooperation and the projects in that field such as building Armenia-Iran third high-voltage electric line, hydropower plant in Meghri, the construction of Armenia-Iran railway.

He thinks that Armenian-Iranian energy cooperation has nothing to do with the suspension of sanctions and it is a result of world politics interests. Vardanyan Voskanyan disagreed and said, "For example, the constructions of the third high-voltage electric line and hydropower plant in Meghri did not begin as Armenia could not make great investments because of the sanctions," he opposed.   

Vahe Davtyan said that the main stimulus of the implementation of these projects is the political decision and the world politics interests and not the suspension of the sanctions. "Armenia has an opportunity to intensify the gas cooperation with Iran. It can import more gas and export more electricity to Islamic State by the barter scheme, "he concluded.

The speakers agreed upon the following fact that the suspension of sanctions is a chance which should be used and Armenia should make attractive proposals to Iran.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

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