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25 December 2011 - 23:22

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a visit to Armenia at the helm of a top delegation on Friday while his chief of staff and advisor Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei was significantly absent in the trip.

According to Khabar Online correspondent, Ahmadinejad returned Tehran on Friday night after a one-day official visit to Yerevan where he discussed with the top Armenian officials. They inked five cooperation agreements and memorandums of understanding. Ahmadinejad also met Iranian residents in Armenia.
Tehran and Yerevan agreements cover various fields of cooperation including the construction of hydroelectric power plants on Aras dam, cooperation between Iran’s Standards and Industrial Research and the Armenian National Institute for Standards as well as cooperation in the fields of social welfare, employment and environment protection.
 Supply of oil products to Armenia and construction of railways are among main topics of discussion during President Ahmadinejad’s one-day visit to Yerevan.
 Trade stood at 270 million dollars in 2010 between the two countries. The figure rose up to 300 million dollars in 2011.
Ahmadinejad was accompanied by Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi; Minister of Energy Majid Namjou; Minister of Cooperatives Welfare and Social Security Abdul Reza Sheikh ul-Eslami; the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization Mohammad Javad Mohammadizadeh; deputy of international relations at the Presidential Office Ali Saeedlou, the head of Iran's Standard and industrial Research Institute Nezam al-Din Barzegari and a top adviser Mojtaba Samareh Hashemi, Islamic Republic's News Agency (IRNA) reported.
It was the first time last year that Mashaei did not join Ahmadinejad in a foreign visit 
Some Iranian Principlist factions believe Mashaei is leading "the deviant current" which has been accused of attempting to reduce the central role of jurisprudents (Foqaha) in the political scene of the Islamic Republic of Iran through insisting on the nationalist strain of Iranian culture and history.
In 2007 Mashaei had not also accompanied Ahmadinejad in a visit to Armenia.
News ID 181312