Armenia, Iran Build Joint Power Plant

Posted November 8th, 2012 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
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Armenia and Iran have begun building a joint hydroelectric power plant along their countries' shared border.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian and members of an Iranian delegation led by Iran's energy minister, Majid Namjoo, attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the plant Thursday on the Arax River, near the southern Armenian town of Meghri.

The construction of the plant is expected to take five years and will supply Iran with energy for the first 15 years of its operation before being handed over to Armenia.

Iran is seeking increased trade as international sanctions tighten over its disputed nuclear program. Armenia wants to increase ties with Tehran due to long-term political disputes with two of its other neighbors — Turkey and Azerbaijan — which have led to an economic blockade and closed borders for the landlocked country.

Last month, the two countries agreed to increase economic cooperation, boost bilateral trade and speed up joint projects, including the hydroelectric plant, a power transmission line and a railway link.