2 Dec 04

On the Armenian bank of Arax River, not far from town of Agarak, the
construction of the Armenian part of Iran-Armenia pipeline began on
November 30. Armen Movsisian, RA Energy Minister, emphasized the
importance of the gas pipeline for Armenia.

The gas pipeline stretches for 142 km. The first document on its
construction was signed 12 years ago. The construction in the Iranian
side began several months ago. The Armenian part of the pipeline is
constructed by "Sanir" Iranian company.

The officials visiting the ceremony emphasized in their speeches the
contribution made by the leaders of both countries to the
implementation ofsuch an important program. The agreement on the
construction of the gas pipeline was signed on May 13, 2004, in
Yerevan. The agreement on financing the project was signed in the
course of Iranian President Khatami's visit to Armenia.

Habibollah Bitaraf, Iranian Energy Minister, said in his speech that
according to the agreement, the Iranian Export and Development Bank
allocated a credit for the construction of the Armenian part of the
gas pipeline. The credit amounts to $30 million. Bitaraf said that
Armenia will pay back with electricity for the Iranian gas.

"By implementing this project we develop Armenian-Iranian relations
one more step further. Much efforts were made, many negotiations were
held between Armenia and Iran to achieve the construction of the gas
pipeline," Bitaraf said.

RA Prime Minister Andranik Margarian stated that "this day of 2004
will remain in history". According to him, the gas pipeline has not
only economic and energetic importance for Armenia and Iran but will
also "make definite changes in the region".

"This project is implemented through political and economic
sufferings," Margarian said and reminded, "in the years of hardship
for Armenia Iran stretches out its hand to help us". When we say a
friendly country, we mean the friendship, indeed, the prime minister

RA Prime Minister expressed hope that "in 2005or in 2006 we will again
gather here to open the construction of two hydro power plants on the
banks of Arax. "Today we open the second Armenia-Iran electricity
line in Shinuhayr village, and we are hopeful that the third line will
be opened, as well," Margarian said.

The officials were hopeful that the construction of the gas pipeline
would be completed according to the schedule, i.e. by the end of
2006. According to the agreement, Iran should provide 36 billion
sq. meter of gas to Armenia in the course of 20 years. Prime Minster
Margarian said that besides economic and regional importance, the
construction of Iran-Armenia gas pipeline will open new job positions
for Meghri and Syunik region's residents. "This is a region that is
the back of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh," Margarian said.

Alireza Haghighian, Iranian Ambassador to Armenia, stated that the
construction of the gas pipeline will contribute not only to the
development of Armenia' s economy but also to the regional stability.

By Tatoul Hakobian

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress