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Armenia Politics Region

Armenia Issues A Statement on Developments in Baghdad

Armenian Foreign Ministry has issued a statement in connection with the US drone strike, which killed a top Iranian commander.

General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, was killed in his vehicle near Baghdad International Airport. The news was confirmed both by the US and Iran.

“We are seriously concerned about the recent incidents in Baghdad which led to human loses as well. They risk further undermining the regional security and destabilizing the situation in the Middle East and beyond. Armenia calls for the de-escalation of situation exclusively through peaceful means,” Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted. “Armenia will continue to closely cooperate with all its partners aimed at ensuring regional stability and security.”

Soleimani’s killing has raised fears of serious escalation in the Middle East. Both USA and Iran are key partners for Armenia, while Iraq has become an increasingly important export market. Any escalation in the Middle East is problematic for us, so it is no wonder that the drone strike has stirred heated debates in the Armenian section of Facebook.

Pashinyan reacts

Armenia is enjoying prolonged New Year and Christmas holidays these days, which started on December 31st and will conclude on January 7th. While most state agencies and news media are enjoying the holiday break, the debates around US – Iran tensions and speculations of an all-out global nuclear war is cutting through the half-drank, half-lazy-congratulatory mood of the Armenian social media users.

Meanwhile, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, who is always eager to jump into every Facebook discussion, has published a post on Facebook, noting that “there are institutions capable of following the situation, analyzing the developments and act upon those as needed” and that “all the necessary instructions have been given.”

“The Republic of Armenia, RA citizens and numerous tourists visiting our country live a normal life,” the PM has stated and has advised “self-professed geopolitics analysts, who want to engage in fear-mongering, to relax and sit back on their places.”

The point about tourists is especially noteworthy, as a war in the neighboring Iran would be detrimental to the Armenian government’s hopes to stimulate continuous growth in the tourism industry.

Categories
Armenia Economy

Iranians Flock to Armenia to Celebrate Novruz Again


There are Iranian tourists everywhere in Yerevan these days. They’re here to celebrate Novruz. We haven’t seen so many since at least 2011. This has got to be the result of lifting international sanctions against Iran.

Categories
Armenia Politics

Armenia's Press Freedom Score Highest in The Past Decade


Armenia’s rank has improved by 3 points in this year’s Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders, but we’re still ranked in the “noticeable problems” category.

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Categories
Armenia

Reuters report points a finger at Armenia

Armenia — Presidents of Iran and Armenia meet in Yerevan, 27Mar2011 | Official photo from www.president.am

Reuters news agency has published a report, claiming that Iran is seeking to expand its banking foothold in Armenia and thus trying to skirt bank sanctions the Islamic Republic is facing because of its nuclear program.

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Categories
Armenia Region

The Significance of the Caucasus


Here’s a rather simplistic video dispatch by STRATFOR, a US based company which provides “analysis and insights into political, economic, and military developments”.

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Armenia

Nrnadzor: living next door to Iran


Nrnadzor is the southernmost village of Armenia. The 28 kilometer leading from Meghri to Nrnadzor is stunning, even if dangerous.

Categories
Armenia Economy

Funny: Iranian governor "provides" uranium to Armenian governor

Iranian Tehran Times daily published a strange story on Sunday about an Iranian governor telling an Armenian governor about Iran’s readiness to supply nuclear fuel to Armenia. As a colleague rightfully noted today, they could as well publish a story about an Iranian village mayor promising to sell long-range missiles to an Armenian village mayor. I mean – these things just don’t happen on the village mayor, governor or even prime-minister levels.
Strangely, the story was picked up by a range of Armenian and Azerbaijani media, ‘experts’ started commenting on what this meant, and so on and so forth… (examples: 1, 2, 3, 4). Is there something I don’t understand? Is this story really actually IMPORTANT?

Categories
Armenia

Armenian journalists protest detention of bloggers and journalists in Iran?

First through Facebook, than through Unzipped I found out that a group of Armenian journalists and photographers have issued a statement protesting recent arrests and detention of their colleagues and bloggers in Iran, following disputed presidential election and post-election protests in Tehran.
While I support the statement wholeheartedly, something that fells a little uneasy about this statement is the fact, that the same “Armenian journalists and photographers” didn’t seem to move a finger when their collegues were beaten and threatened in Armenia, but in case of Iran – they dash out like this. Is there something I don’t understand?

Categories
Armenia Economy

Transit of Russian gas to Armenia to resume fully today

Russian gas deliveries to Armenia via a pipeline passing through the territory of Georgia, which were suspended on Friday due to repair works, will resume to full capacity today.

RFE/RL learned yesterday from Armenia’s national gas distribution company, ArmRosGazprom (ARG), that repair works of the Ghazakh-Sagoramo 1000 millimeter pipeline in the territory of Georgia are nearly complete.
“According to our information the works are nearly complete and according to preliminary data gas deliveries to Armenia will start tonight and resume to full capacity tomorrow morning”, – ARG press officer Shushan Sardarian said on Monday.
ArmRosGazprom specialists taking part in repair works are still in Georgia, Sardarian informed.
The pipeline passing through the Azerbaijani-populated Gardabani district of Georgia is the key source of natural gas supplies to Armenia. Gas is the main source of winter heating for Armenian households and generates roughly one third of the country’s electricity.
Georgia suspended on January 9 the transit of Russian natural gas to Armenia through its territory, citing emergency repairs on the key pipeline which officials in Tbilisi said will take several days.
Georgian Energy Minister Aleksandr Khetaguri was reported to say that a section of that pipeline passing through the Azerbaijani-populated Gardabani district has been seriously damaged by increased gas pressure. He attributed it to a seasonal rise in gas consumption in Armenia.
While repair works are underway gas is supplied to Armenian consumers from underground gas reserves of ArmRosGazprom. The underground gas reserves were also instrumental in avoiding a serious energy crisis in Armenia in January 2006, when gas deliveries were halted for 10 days due to an explosion in southern Russia.
Armenia can now also guard against such emergencies by importing gas from neighboring Iran. The final Armenian section of a gas pipeline connecting the two countries was inaugurated in December.
Unlike Armenia, Georgia imports the bulk of its gas from Azerbaijan, rather than Russia.

(based on original reporting by Ruben Meloyan and Emil Danielyan, photo by Photolur)

Categories
Armenia Politics Sport

Podcast: football, censorship and more…

Football dominated the Armenian blogosphere this week. Virtual discussions focused on the two games of the Armenian football team – both ending in crushing defeats for the Armenian team. Belgium-Armenia 2:0, Bosnia-Armenia 4:1. The scores are painful for the Armenian blogers: Aerial-vortex and Reporter_arm have shared their views.
Life in Armenian Diaspora blog has reflected on Armenia’s football diplomacy in relation to Turkey and the news on the plans to build a new railway connecting Armenia to Iran.

This is great news, as it only has one rail line functioning at the moment, and that is from unreliable Georgia. [] But what is clear is that a new line through Iran is vital for Armenia’s survival and options. Until Armenia has an outlet to the sea, they need to be able to not depend on Turks and Georgians for transportation. The Turks will finally realize that Armenia does have another option and that they’ve missed a big opportunity by not opening the border much earlier. Now Armenia will not be beholden to Turkey’s whims and preconditions. Ever. Or that’s the idea anyway, and they’ll know it. At this point, even if Turkey throws the border gates wide open, the rail project should go ahead.

Unzipped has posted Tigran Paskevichyan’s 10 minute documentary – “Enstrangement”, which was prevented from being screened at Yerevan’s “Moscow” cinema theatre days after another film – by Tigran Khzmalyan this time was also denied the chance to be displayed on the same cinema screen. “Censorship should have no place in Armenia. Censorship should be (and will be) defeated.” – Unzipped says and I so wholeheartedly agree!!!
Pigh is making first steps in the sphere of developing blog-documentaries 🙂 He has posted a photo of the ancient stone with inscriptions estimated to belong to 782 B.C. and used as solid proof to the fact, that Erebuni-Yerevan, the capital of Armenia was found 2790 years ago. As Yerevan celebrates it’s incredible age on October 12 (Rome was found dacades later, on 753 B.C), Pigh posts an extract from Urartu King Argishti’s inscription: “With the Greatness of God Haldi, Son of Menua Argishti found this powerful fortress and gave it the name Erebuni, for the power of the state of Biainili”. Anyway, considering the blogger’s name is also Tigran and the attempt is somewhat ‘documental’, stakes are high his blog will also be banned 🙂
Anyway, the Podcast of all of the above and more, including an interview with the extreemly prolific blogger 517design (who has recently started also a new English language blog – Armenia Discovered)  can be downloaded from here.
You can also listen to the Podcast online by clicking the player icon below: