00:12 07/11/2018

Expert: Iran does not consider Armenia a pro-American state

Recently the acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan stated at the National Assembly that due to the US-Iranian relations and the geopolitical situation, the Armenian-Iranian border can be de-facto closed at any moment.

Pashinyan's statement has received a broad response both on social media and in expert circles, as the drastic change in Iran's attitude towards Armenia after such a statement was strictly considered real.
Panorama.am correspondent talked with Iranian expert Artyom Tonoyan about the topic, wondering whether after the statement on possible closure of the border by the RA acting Prime Minister, Iran views Armenia as pro-American and has changed its friendly attitude?

The expert mentioned that Iran does not regard Armenia as a pro-American state.

"There is no such position from the Iranian side, taking into account the messages that have been sent so far. Moreover, there are messages regarding the pro-American orientation of Azerbaijan. There is no such tendency towards Armenia. In essence, the context of Nikol Pashinyan's statement was quite understandable for Iran. As far as I am informed, there hasn’t been any negative response from the Iranian side.

It's a purely contextual issue. That is to say, he was referring to the closed borders of Armenia in the east and west and the de facto closure of the Armenian-Iranian border, "Artyom Tonoyan underscored.
According to the expert, the closure of the Armenian-Iranian border may be the most undesirable scenario for Armenia. He noted that the possible closing of the border might only occur in emergencies, such as the state of war.

"At the same time, all possible scenarios should be taken into account. If God forbid, there are military activities between Iran and the United States, we need to understand what can be dangerous for Armenia. Of course, it would be desirable for us not to talk about the possible closing of the border,"Artyom Tonoyan summed up.
It should be added that in recent years, the number of Iranians in Yerevan has dropped dramatically, and there is a view that the reason can be Iran's cautiousness to make its citizens refrain from visiting Armenia during this period.

To make sure whether the number of Iranians has indeed dropped recently, and if yes, what the possible reasons are, Panorama.am correspondent sent a written inquiry to the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Armenia. We also inquired from the foreign diplomatic office whether there were statistical data on the arrivals and departures of Iranians compared with the same period last year.
The embassy responded to us that they did not have any statistical data and that they used the data provided by the RA Tourism Committee.

As to the question of the decrease in the number of Iranians in Armenia, the embassy refuted it mentioning that they did not have such an observation. The Iranian businessmen, who have been working in Armenia for many years, continue their regular activities. As to the decline in the number of Iranian tourists, the embassy considered it normal, explaining it by the start of the academic year in September and weather conditions. The diplomatic representation hopes that in the spring of Novruz Bayram, a large number of Iranians will arrive in Armenia again.

Nevertheless, Eastern or Western East is present in Armenia, during the recent months the number of Indians has considerably increased in Armenia. To understand the tendency we tried to inquire some information from the Foreign Ministry of Armenia. In response to our written inquiry,  the Foreign Ministry said that by the decision N1435-N of November 16, 2017 adopted by the Government of the Republic of Armenia, citizens of the Republic of India can obtain RA entry visas through the border checkpoints, as well as through the "Electronic Visa" system.

This circumstance has substantially contributed to the sharp increase in the number of visits by citizens of India to the Republic of Armenia. Accordingly, in 2016, 3204 citizens of India have received a visa to visit Armenia, 10642 in 2017, and 28659 in the period from January 1 to November 1, 2018.
The Embassy of India in Armenia also told us that due to the visa circumstances, Armenia is a very attractive tourist destination for Indians. In addition, more and more Indian students are eager to get professional education in Armenia, especially at medical universities.



Source Panorama.am
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