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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iran's Leader Cuts Trip Short

YEREVAN, Armenia -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cut short his two-day visit to Armenia on Tuesday and returned to Iran, an Armenian presidential spokesman said.

The Armenian government had expected Ahmadinejad to address the parliament and, in what was likely to cause controversy, plant a sapling at a memorial commemorating the victims of what Armenians consider genocide.

He also had planned to visit the 18th-century Blue Mosque in central Yerevan, which was rebuilt with Iranian funding after the Soviet collapse.

But the Iranian president told Armenian President Robert Kocharyan late Monday that he needed to skip Tuesday's planned events because of unexpected developments in Iran that needed immediate attention, Armenian presidential spokesman Viktor Sogomonyan said. He gave no details.

No unexpected developments have been reported in Iran that could explain Ahmadinejad's early departure.

Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted Ahmadinejad's top adviser, Mojtaba Samareh-Hashemi, denying any change in plan. "The visit by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Iranian delegation to Armenia is going ahead as scheduled," he said.

Following those remarks, state television reported Ahmadinejad's arrival in Tehran without further comment.

Ahmadinejad and Kocharyan discussed plans to build a railway link and two hydroelectric power plants on the border river, Araks, on Monday.

Kocharyan's spokesman said the president was not disturbed by the early departure because they had covered all necessary issues Monday.

(AP, Reuters)