Iran-Six Powers Deal: New Prospects for Armenia
The recent deal between Iran and six world powers and ensuing lifting of sanctions will politically and economically benefit Armenia. The end of Tehran’s isolation will evolve into economic boost in Iran and, as a result, a set of Armenian-Iranian projects – Meghri power plant, oil pipeline, rail road construction – will come true.

On April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, it was agreed that more than two thirds of Iran’s enrichment capacity will be decommisioned if the parties can reach a comprehensive agreement by June 30. Iran will be freed from almost all economic and financial sanctions after fulfilling a list of stringent conditions. The experts believe lifting of sanctions may lead to drastic changes in the Middle East and South Caucasus. Iran, actually, may restore its political and economic dominance in the region, with the results coming forth gradually.

“The end to the isolation of Iran will be beneficial especially for Armenis’s economy but evidently positive shifts won’t be observed instantly. The process will embrace several phases,” said Vardan Voskanyan, Head of the Chair of Iranian Studies, Yerevan State University. Both sides are eager to conclude the agreement since the interests of the USA and European Union go in line with the regional policy Iran adopted, Voskanyan believes.

“The trade turnover will increase (it has plunged by 60 percent – ed.), with a number of economic projects being restarted. Besides, Armenia will have an access to Bandar Abbas Port which will enhance the diversification of Armenia’s foreign trade,” the expert commented.

Stepan Grigoryan, Head of the Center for Globalization and Regional Cooperation, considers instant lifting of Iran sanctions “a more efficient solution since we can hardly know what political development may arise. It is not guaranteed that EU, like USA, will lift the bulk of sanctions – any European country, Luxemburg for example, may put a veto.”

Grigoryan recalled Iran's President Hassan Rouhani’s statement that all sanctions on Iran must be lifted at the same time as any final agreement is concluded. The deal, however, will be signed, the expert believes, regardless the factor of Israel and possible political shifts in the USA.

Gohar Iskandaryan, Iran expert, meanwhile, said the initial deal specified “a phase variant of reducing uranium enrichment capacity.” Currently, there are UN and EU-mandated sanctions against Iran, “levied upon the appeal and demand of the USA.”

Rouhani’s statement is a mere rhetoric aimed at achieving instant lifting of sanctions, Iskandaryan said and added: “Tehran’s rhetoric may be evoked by the recent regional events, for instance Yemen which has adopted strict policy toward Shiites (who are supported by Iran – ed.). Iran may be using this strategy for bargain.”

Iskandaryan spoke on the construction of Meghri power plant on the Aras River and described the project of Iran-Armenia rail road as unlikely to be implemented due to the extensive investments required and economic inefficiency. “Anyway, Armenia will benefit from the end of Iran’s isolation.”

On the other hand, lifting of sanctions may be challenging for Armenia. “Following the end of the isolation, Iran may as well assign a secondary role to the Iran-Armenia relations because the railway project is now important for Iran only to address the challenges of the blockade,” Voskanyan said.

The possibility of a mutually beneficial agreement is quite high, experts said. “Iran considers it a matter of national honor to remain among top countries with nuclear power. They will strive to maintain that status probably by compensating the reduction of its uranium capacity with achieving more influence in the region,” Voskanyan concluded.


Arshaluys Mghdesyan, Editor-Coordinator

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