Iran Sets Sights on Armenia

However, he wrote, traders and officials from both sides should first help come up with a new trade mechanism to make the idea feasible. Many of the 6,400 items the European Union allows to be imported from Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan at very low tariffs can be supplied by Iranian manufacturers, Aharonian noted.

Iran is currently Armenia’s fourth largest trading partner after the European Union, Russia and China. Moreover, the Islamic Republic’s annual trade with Armenia is set to increase to $1 billion in the near future, up from $300 million now.

Earlier this month, Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan agreed with a proposal offered by the Iranian side to revive Armenia’s factories built during the Soviet era. Iran says the factories can be used as a base to process semi-finished goods imported from Iran to eventually be exported to third countries.

But the Islamic Republic is not alone in its interest in Armenia. The United States has provided millions of dollars in assistance to Yerevan since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Moreover, Washington has long been negotiating with the Armenian government to expand bilateral trade and investment relations.

Lastly, the United States has — as is also largely the case with Iran — supported the Armenian government in its political and territorial disputes with neighboring states since its independence. These parallel efforts by Tehran and Washington to court Yerevan could end up in a potential clash of interests, even in the aftermath of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which has repaired US-Iran relations to some extent.

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