Armenia-Iran: Transport ministers discuss corridor from Gulf region to Black Sea

In what is more evidence of mutual interest in Armenia and Iran to develop their ties after the lifting of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the two countries signed on January 20 two memorandums on cooperation and mutual understanding in the area of postal services and communications.

Under the memoranda signed as part of Armenian Minister of Transport and Communications Gagik Beglaryan’s visit to Iran, Yerevan and Tehran will, in particular, issue joint stamps, will extend their international postal communications and hold joint exhibitions related to the sphere.

Also, internet shopping between the two countries is going to be established, while the purchased goods will be shipped via postal services.

Beglaryan and his Iranian Minister of Transportation and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi also discussed issues related to the establishment of a corridor between the Gulf region and the Black Sea, in particular, spoke about the construction of a Julfa-Yeraskh railroad.

Iran and Armenia registered a 50-percent increase in shipment last year, the Iranian minister noted, with 10,000 trucks traveling from Iran to Armenia, and another 2,000 in the opposite direction. In order to facilitate cargo shipments between the two countries, customs duties have been leveled.

At this moment, the United States has lifted only secondary sanctions that limited deals between Iran and other countries’ physical and legal persons as well as affiliates of American companies abroad. Limits for American companies are still in force.

However, even in this case, many experts in Armenia believe in the greater opportunities for developing Armenian-Iranian economic relations in the changed reality.

Economist Artak Manukyan thinks that Armenia and Iran have opportunities, for example, to establish joint ventures for processing raw materials. “For example, they could set up a molybdenum processing plant. Armenia holds 7 percent of the world reserves of molybdenum. And Iran also has molybdenum reserves. Through a joint venture the two sides could provide the entire cycle of processing and produce the final product instead of exporting raw materials and then purchasing the final product at a higher price,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

According to Manukyan, Armenia and Iran could also combine their tourism markets, offer joint packages to tourists visiting the region.

The World Bank also sees “interesting opportunities” in Armenian-Iranian relations after the lifting of international sanctions from Tehran.

Laura Bailey, the head of the WB Yerevan office, said earlier this week that during the 12 years when Iran was under sanctions Armenia, in particular, has managed to make headway in the information technologies sector. Besides, she said, as a member of the Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia could also become a “commercial bridge” in the relations between Iran and the Russian-led economic grouping.