Iran puts trust in Armenian Diaspora and works towards cancelling visa regime

Nuclear weapon has long become a political lever and an intimidation tool, with the help of which Tehran hopes to grow into a regional leader, leaving Turkey behind.

The visit of Foreign Minister of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi to Yerevan generated more questions than answers on the true role of Iran in Armenia. The constant tension over Iran’s nuclear program, together with its weighty position and role in the region makes Tehran look for allies, should a dangerous point arrive, followed by invasion or bombing.

PanARMENIAN.Net - The large Armenian Iranian community, which is quite independent in certain issues including religion, has a lot to do with this situation. Iran is probably the only Muslim country where Armenians enjoy religious freedom. This, however, according to some reports, did not prevent the state authorities from executing an Armenian recently. Although the authorities deny this fact, execution in Iran is so common a phenomenon (like stoning) that you can believe anything. But when it comes to a possible war against Iran, Armenia is in the foreground in this issue. And the most “uncomfortable” thing about all this is the fact that everyone seemingly understands everything, but can do nothing, since the only normal road to Armenia passes through Tabriz. Iran is a normal country, of course, but the Ayatollahs there sometimes go too far and this is indeed the origin of most evil. The nuclear program is just a derivative of the regime, and it is quite probable that if Iran were a secular country, its nuclear program would not attract so much international attention. Tehran also stands behind the radical Islamic groups “Hezbollah”, “Muslim Brotherhood” and some others. For a Christian country friendship with such a partner is fraught with danger, although the international community realizes that Yerevan simply has no other way out. It is also possible that the attempt to get the Armenian-Turkish relations off the ground was directed against Iran, too.

The Foreign Minister of the IRI, among other things, made two interesting statements in Yerevan. “Geographically Armenia seems a small country, but thanks to her communities in over 100 countries she has a great influence in the world. Those people are ambassadors of Armenia around the world, and they contribute to her growing international influence. We hope that this influence will help to ensure that regional issues are settled, stability and peace are established,” Salehi said. If translated into normal language, this clearly indicates the following: let the Armenian diaspora convince the world that Iran seeks neither war nor nuclear weapons. It’s natural that a normal state should not look forward to a war, but things are a bit complicated with the second part of the statement. Nuclear weapon has long become a political lever and an intimidation tool, with the help of which Tehran hopes to grow into a regional leader, leaving Turkey behind.

And here is the second statement, which on closer examination looks much more dangerous. “Iran appreciates the cooperation with Armenia and is interested in expanding it. One step in this direction will be the abolition of visa regime,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi at a briefing in Yerevan. Another proof of good relations with Armenia is the statistics on the number of Iranian tourists in Armenia – over 100 thousand in the current year. “We hope that in the near future this number will rise to a million,” Salehi said. In practice, we shall have the following picture: on every Nowruz Bayram the Armenians will have to urgently leave Yerevan for a week. This is not an exaggeration and no creation of an “enemy image” in the face of Iranians who are really tired of the numerous restrictions on normal life. And Armenia is close and convenient. It’s understandable that for development of tourism in Armenia inrush of tourists is always good, but in this case the benefit may result in unpleasant consequences, such as fights, molestation of girls and, God forbid, mishaps. Most interesting is the fact that the abolition of visas to the neighboring country will give almost nothing to Armenian citizens: women, as well as men, will find no pleasure in leaving for this Islamic state. Thus, this is a one-sided game.

Among all the other disadvantages Iran also hinders Armenia to establish normal relations with Israel, which, in the long run, is more important for the Armenians than Tehran, since cooperation between Armenian and Jewish lobbies in the U.S. and Europe will benefit the country far more than the inrush of one million Iranian tourists. But it should be noted that big changes are awaiting the region and no one knows with whom one will have to make friends tomorrow...

Karine Ter-Sahakyan
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