ArmInfo. Vardan Voskanyan, Armenian expert in Iranian Studies, is convinced that Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will pay a visit to Armenia in Dec 2016.
"Rouhani's visit to Armenia should be considered in the context of deepening and dynamically developing Armenian-Iranian relations. A fresh impetus should be given to the economic relations," Voskanyan said at a press conference in Yerevan on November 29.
The expert thinks that today Armenia is an important link between the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. "One of the bilateral cooperation directions is multimodal transportation from Europe to Iran and back via Armenia. This route was already tested on November 23, 2016. Armenia can become an important link between Iran and Europe in the context of construction of the North-South transport corridor as well. Iran is interested in enhancement of Armenia's role amid the problematic relations with Turkey. In this light, Iran seeks to find alternative ways via Armenia bypassing Turkey," he said.
He noted that the gas sector is another direction for effective cooperation He recalled that Iran has signed an experimental contract on gas export to Georgia via Armenia. The contract will allow enhancing the Armenian side's role in this matter. In addition, Iran is supplying Armenia with gas for thermal power plants. Due to the construction of two power transmission lines (Iran-Armenia and Armenia-Georgia), the cross flows will exceed the current indices almost 10-fold and will allow Armenia to become a serious transiter of electricity," he said.
Voskanyan pointed out that a serious role in promotion of the bilateral relations belonged to visa liberalization that enables the Armenian citizens to travel from the Black Sea to the Persian Gulf without hindrance, as well as the Armenian-Iranian Memorandum of Cooperation in customs administration. "Armenia is also considered a gateway in the Iran-EEU cooperation. The Armenian-Iranian ties in the scientific and education area are also at a good level, however, there is a potential to develop the cultural ties. So, Rouhani's visit to Armenia is expected to allow summing up the results of cooperation and outlining new directions," he said.
The expert added that the Iranian President's visit is also topical, because his first term of presidency will shortly be completed and the visit can give him certain dividends from the Armenian community of Iran during the elections.
Voskanyan does not share the opinion that Russia can influence Armenia and Iran in cooperation in the gas sector.