Armenia is a country with an area of 29,743 square kilometers in the southwestern Caucasus region, which is located along the ancient Silk Road. Armenia does not have direct access to the sea and out of its total 1254 km of land border, 311 km in the west with Turkey, 219 km in the north with Georgia, 996 km with the Republic of Azerbaijan in the east (221 km with Nakhchivan in the southwest), and It is 44 km south of Iran.
12% of this land is covered with forests, 21% with agricultural land, 30% with pastures and about 37% with mountains.
- Total area :29.743 square kilometers
- Land area: 203/28 square kilometers
- Water area: 1540 square kilometers
- Total length of the border: 1.254 square kilometers
Armenia is a mountainous country located in north of the Iranian plateau and south of the Caucasus Mountains. The average altitude of the country is 1800 meters above sea level and only 10% of Armenian cities are less than 1000 meters above sea level. The highest peak in Armenia is Aragats with a height of 4090 meters.
The most important lake in Armenia, Sevan Lake with an area of 1400 square kilometers located in the east of the country it plays a very significant role in the ecosystem of the region, with an altitude of about 2000 meters, Sevan is one of the highest freshwater lakes in the world.
Gold, silver, copper, molybdenum, zinc, iron, lead, bauxite, basalt, clay, iron ore and semi-precious and decorative stones are the main natural resources of Armenia.
The soil and climate of Armenia are very suitable for planting and harvesting agricultural products, so its agricultural products, fruits and organic vegetables are often exported to European countries and the United States.
The capital of Armenia is Yerevan, including more than a third of the country’s population is home to about one million people. Yerevan with an area of 223 square kilometers is located at the foot of Mountain Ararat and along the Hrazdan River. It is one of the oldest cities in the world and was built in 782 BC by Argishti I, King of Armenia.
Yerevan is one of the most important industrial, cultural and scientific centers of the Caucasus region. This city is the center of trade and agricultural products. In addition, the industrial centers of the city are active in the field of metal products, machine tools, electrical appliances, chemicals, weaving and food.
Armenia is divided into 11 provinces. The capital and the provinces themselves are divided into several regions. The provinces are as following Yerevan, Aragatsotn, Ararat, Armavir, Gegharkunik, Kotayk, Lori, Shirac, Syunik, Tavush, Vayots Dzor, and the major cities of Armenia are: Gyumri, Vanadzor, Echmiadzin, Hrazdan, Abovyan, Charents, Qapan, Armavir, Ashtarak, Sevan, Goris.
The climate in Armenia is mild. Summers are hot, dry and sunny, lasting from June to mid-September. The temperature fluctuates between 22 and 36 °C (72 and 97 °F). However, the low humidity level mitigates the effect of high temperatures. Evening breezes blowing down the mountains provide a welcome refreshing and cooling effect. Springs are short, while autumns are long. Autumns are known for their vibrant and colourful foliage.
Winters are quite cold with plenty of snow, with temperatures ranging between −10 and −5 °C (14 and 23 °F). Winter sports enthusiasts enjoy skiing down the hills of Tsakhkadzor, located thirty minutes outside Yerevan. Lake Sevan, nestled up in the Armenian highlands, is the second largest lake in the world relative to its altitude, at 1,900 metres (6,234 ft).
According to the latest census in 2018, the population of Armenia is 3,045,191, which is the 137th country in the world. The population density is 108 people per square kilometer. 64% of the population is urban. 98% of the people are Armenians, 2% are Yazidi Kurds, Russians and other ethnic groups.
Armenian is the only official language which is one of the Indo-European languages that is common in the Caucasus region and especially in Armenia. The language is written in its own script, the Armenian alphabet, invented by Mashtots in 405 AD. The Armenian language has two major dialects, one Eastern Armenian and the other Western Armenian. The current inhabitants of Armenia mostly speak Eastern Armenian and the Armenians outside Armenia mostly speak Western Armenian. Written form of this alphabet is from left to right. Armenian alphabet does not have underscores, rough lines and dots.
Constitution of Armenia was adopted in a national referendum on July 5, 1995. This law defines Armenia as a state based on democracy, socialism and the constitution. Yerevan has been designated as the capital of the government. In this law, power is considered to belong to the people who transfer this power to government officials through elections. Constitutional changes and border changes are made by the vote of all citizens in all public inquiries. There were 117 principles in the 1995 constitution. On November 27, 2005, another referendum was held to amend the constitution and it was approved.
Parliamentary system and the main pillars of government
On Monday, October 5, 2015, the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia approved the bill proposed by the Republican Party of Armenia to “change the political structure of the country from presidential to parliamentary” with 103 positive votes, 10 negative and 3 refrained. The enactment was put to a referendum on December 6, 2015, with 63.35 percent of the voters in favor of reforming the government into a parliamentary system.
The Armenian National Assembly is the legislature, which currently has 132 members. The recent before due elections were held in December 2018, and the deputies were elected by direct vote for a five-year term. One of the important responsibilities of the legislature is to oversee, as well as approve or reject the prime minister. At present, 15% of MPs are women.
There are two courts of appeal in Armenia, one dealing with legal cases and the other with criminal and military cases. Both courts are located in the capital, and their rulings can be appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Commercial Court consider economic disputes. Judgments of this court can also be appealed in the Supreme Court.
Relations between Iran & Armenia
Iran-Armenia relations are based on the long-standing cultural, political and historical relations of the two countries and the spiritual and intellectual commonality of the two nations. After the declaration of independence of the Republic of Armenia (September 21, 1991), the Islamic Republic of Iran was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the independence of Armenia (December 25, 1991) and to establish comprehensive political, diplomatic, cultural and economic relations.
Apart from strategic and economic factors, the long-standing friendly relations between the two nations are also one of the important factors in the development of good relations between the two countries. The prospect of unprecedented cooperation, especially in the field of culture, science and education, was established between the two countries. At present, diplomatic relations between Iran and Armenia are at a high level after the independence of Republic of Armenia in 1991, official visits of Armenian president and prime minister were done to Iran.
Energy sources are supplied by thermal power plants, hydroelectric power plants, nuclear power plants, solar power plants and wind power plants.
Armenia gets most of its gas from Russia. The rest of the required gas will be compensated by the importation of natural gas from Iran. The agreement on the import of natural gas was signed in 1992 between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Armenia.
According to the agreement between the two sides, the exported gas of Iran will be consumed by power plants in Armenia, and Iran will import electricity from Armenia instead.
Road transport: The length of road lines in Armenia is 7870 km, which is ranked 142th in the world in this regard.
Rail transport, the railway wide is 1.520 meters and Armenia has no narrow and variable railway line.
The Black Sea ports of Puti and Batumi, located in Georgia, play an important role in Armenia’s foreign trade, and cargo is transported to Yerevan by rail and to these ports.
It’s worthy to mention that there is no direct railway between Iran and Armenia.
Aviation: Armenia has 11 airports, of which only two or three operate. In other words, due to its small territory, there are no domestic flights in this country. Zvartnots International Airport of Yerevan is the most important airport in the country.
Due to the lack of access to international waters, the country lacks maritime transport lines, ports and terminals.
There are two free trade zones in Armenia called “Alliance” and “Meridian”. The “Alliance” was established by a government decree in 2013. In this region, there are companies that produce and export high and new technologies, including electronics, precision engineering, pharmacy, biotechnology, information technology, various renewable technologies, design and telecommunications (design and production of equipment, systems And materials related to data transmission and information technology) as well as in the field of production of goods that are not available in Armenia.
The Meridian Free Zone was established by a government decree in February 2014 and has been active since then. The free trade zone operates in the fields of gold making industry, jewelry and watchmaking.
On December 15, 2017, Meghari Free Zone was launched in the Sionik region of Armenia near the border of Iran which is currently inactive. The establishment of this free trade zone provides an opportunity for Iranian companies to establish their branches in the region and export their products to the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union as well as the European Union. In current situation, relations with China and Iran are an available option for Armenia to diversify its foreign policy and make it attractive for foreign investment in the country.
As a member of Eurasian Economic Union, Armenia enjoys low tariffs on exports with member countries. Armenia also has access to the EU GSP (Preferential Tariff Plan) system which enables the exportation of goods to the EU with zero or minimum custom tariffs.
Banking is one of the leading industries in Armenia, but the capital market, insurance and stock markets are not very developed yet. The Central Bank of Armenia is responsible for regulating and monitoring the country’s financial system and stabilizing prices, which has good performance till now. Facilities have been provided to small and medium-sized enterprises in the private sector, but interest rates on loans are still high and require bail. Generally speaking, people’s trust in the banking system has increased and attracted more deposits in banks.
The macroeconomic forecasts for 2020 are quite close to those of the central bank. The head of the central bank announced in the draft budget that new steps will be taken to change the economic structure to more productive sectors such as services and industry, and due to the relatively high growth of these two sectors, real GDP growth in 2020 is predicted to be at 4.9%.
The total value of exports in 2018 was $ 2.4 billion, which the largest share was related to the mineral products, food industries and the group of precious and semi-precious stones and metals.
The main importers of goods from Armenia are as followsing
Russia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Canada, Germany, Iraq, China, Iran, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates. As mentioned, Iran is one of the 10 main export destinations of Armenia. The total value of Armenian exports to Iran in 2018 was 94 million USD.