Armenian Youth Discussed the Tension in Russian-Turkish Relations and Prospects of Armenian-Iranian Cooperation
The strained relations between Russia and Turkey, the agreement signed over Iranian nuclear program, as well as the Armenian-Iranian relations were discussed during the training held in Yerevan from 3-4 of December.
The training was organized by NGO “European Integration” with the support of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of the RA.
The working day began with a brief discussion of hot topics. The participants expressed their views on the draft of constitutional reforms.
The second topic of debate was the recent growing tension in Russian-Turkish relations. What to expect in the nearest future, how will the situation develop, what impact can it have on Armenia, which are our main challenges? The participants of the training were trying to find the answers to these questions, touching upon the history of Russian-Turkish relations, deepening economic cooperation between the two sides in recent years, as well as political disagreements between the parties in the context of Syrian conflict.
There was an idea according to which the tension of the Russian-Turkish relations, along with a number of challenges creates also some opportunities for Armenia and in this situation the government should show some initiatives.
On the second half of the day the speaker introduced the situation in Armenia’s neighbor Iran stressing that the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran is very crucial for us, and we cannot underestimate the expected developments.
As a proof to that the speaker introduced a number of interesting facts: Iran has 78̦5 million population, the territory of the country compared with another regional power, Turkey, is twice as big, and Iran’s GDP in 2014 was amounted to 1.3 trillion US dollars. And this is in that case when there are sanctions imposed on the country.
The speaker recalled that the first sanctions against Iran have started to be imposed since 1980, when the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant was stopped. In 1992, Iran has, however, signed a deal with Russia and in 2010 the construction of the plant was completed.
In 2005-2013, during the years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad governance, Iran’s activities on nuclear project, as well as anti-American policies were intensified. As a result, in 2006, new sanctions were introduced against Iran, and in 2012 they were intensified even more particularly striking a major blow to Iranian banks.
In 2013 Hassan Rouhani came to power in Iran, the government began to run a milder policy, talks with the “Six” nuclear negotiators has begun (UN Security Council 5 permanent members and Germany), as a result of which the 2015 nuclear agreement was signed in Vienna on July 14.
It is expected that starting from January 2016 the sanctions against Iran will be gradually lifted. In parallel with this it is expected that Iran will have a tremendous economic growth. Due to its energy resources Iran has a top priority for Europe. 13% of the world’s oil reserves are located in Iran, what refers to gas reserves, Iran ranks second in the world.
Iran will return to the international market. In 2016 around 3 billion US dollar investments are expected in Iran, and there are predictions that Iran’s GDP will record a growth of 5.5%. From 110 to 130 billion of Iranian frozen assets will be returned to Iran’s economy.
This means that Iran can become a No. 1 country in the region in economic terms. This especially contradicts the interests of Turkey. Azerbaijan will also be greatly affected which will lose its energy supplier mediating role. Iran Energy Project realization will weaken Russia’s leverage over Europe.
Instead, good opportunities are being created for Armenia, and we should do our best to get the benefit of Iran’s prosperity, taking into account the fact that Iran, in its turn, objectively needs us.
From this point of view the necessity of active initiatives, new ideas and intensive activities from Armenian side was highlighted. In their individual tasks the participants tried to suggest action plans, by which Armenia should build relations with Iran.
During the discussion Iran’s role in the Islamic world, as well as Armenia’s possible role in the process of development prospects of Iran-EAEU partnership were also touched upon.