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Iran to Reassert Caspian Rights
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Iran to Reassert Caspian Rights

Iran will defend its territorial rights in talks with the other four littoral states of the resource-rich Caspian Sea to finalize a convention on the legal status of the sea, a lawmaker said.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is not seeking a larger share [of the sea] than before but it is determined not to lose its current share," Mehrdad Lahouti added in a talk with ICANA on Sunday.
The lawmaker's remarks came after Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi dismissed the notion that the demarcation of the Caspian Sea was included in recent discussions between the foreign ministers of the littoral states in Russia.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Friday, Qasemi said no decision was made in the ministerial meeting about the countries' shares of the sea because the issue of demarcation was not on the agenda of the meeting.
"The demarcation talks fall outside the framework of the convention currently being discussed by the five countries to determine the legal status of the Caspian Sea," he said.
The spokesman assured that no agreement was in sight, citing a wide divergence in the positions of the littoral states.
He said issues related to the Caspian Sea's demarcation and shares of littoral states would be subject to separate talks and protocols.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his accompanying team attended the latest meeting of the five Caspian littoral states, namely Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, earlier this month in Moscow, the seventh at the ministerial level since the talks got underway in the early 90s following the collapse of the Soviet Union to create a legal regime that would determine their Caspian territorial rights.  
That regime is set to be enshrined in a comprehensive document outlining the duties and rights of the Caspian states, among other issues.
The ministerial discussions are to be followed by a gathering of the five leaders at the Fifth Caspian Summit in Kazakhstan.
The five presidents last convened in the Russian port city of Astrakhan in 2014, where the five signed an agreement to promote the sustainable use of Caspian Sea and protect its marine life.
Also, key principles of activities in the Caspian Sea were set out in a joint political declaration that outlined the framework of the convention.
Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area and is variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea.

 

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