91923
President Hassan Rouhani addressing a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday
President Hassan Rouhani addressing a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday

President Supports 5-Nation Caspian Sea Agreement

“The Caspian Sea belongs to the littoral states and any establishment and rendering control of military bases to foreign states, passing of warships and even transiting foreign military cargo belonging to countries other than the littoral states in the Ca

President Supports 5-Nation Caspian Sea Agreement

President Hassan Rouhani said the agreement signed by the five Caspian Sea littoral states' leaders in Kazakhstan thwarted US and NATO plots to deploy forces in the region, describing it as a “great security achievement.”
"The US and the NATO had plotted to establish their presence on the Caspian coasts and deploy forces there," Rouhani told a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday, Fars News Agency reported.
“Based on this agreement, however, the establishment of military bases and the presence of foreign vessels in the Caspian Sea is banned,” he said
He was referring to the convention signed by the Caspian littoral states in Kazakhstan on Sunday, and said the agreement prevents setting up of foreign military bases and deploying foreign vessels to the sea. It also bans the use of the territory of a littoral state against another.
"The Caspian Sea belongs to the littoral states and any establishment and rendering control of military bases to foreign states, passing of warships and even transiting foreign military cargo belonging to countries other than the littoral states in the Caspian Sea is forbidden," Rouhani said last week after the signing of the convention in the Kazak port city of Aktau.
He described endorsement of the convention by Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan as an important step, but noted that its final approval would be after all legal issues are accepted by the five littoral states.
Countries on the northern flank of the Caspian Sea have agreed on some parts of the issues, the president said.
“Russia, that once owned a large part of the Caspian Sea, today is has content with a 17% share.”
In the southern part of the waterway, there are still differences between Iran, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, the president said.
“We had good agreements with Azerbaijan which are being implemented while some issues remain unsolved.” He did not elaborate on the pending points.
“Iranian ships can pass across the sea and we can make use of the port, tourism and economic capacities of the sea,” he said.
Rouhani said negotiations on delimitation of the Caspian Sea should continue among the littoral states to reach separate agreements through understanding and constructive interaction among negotiators from  the five countries.
***Nuclear Deal
Rouhani again dismissed Washington’s offer of talks, which followed its unilateral withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying the US itself had destroyed the  bridges for negotiations with Tehran.
“The US itself has acted in such a way that has destroyed the conditions required for negotiations. It has destroyed its bridges."
Elaborating his point, the president said, “Now the US is standing on the other side," wondering how to cross. “If it really is honest, it should fix the bridge again.”
In a hostile move US President Donald Trump withdrew from the international nuclear agreement in May and decided to re-impose economic sanctions against Iran.
The White House has said it will impose the “strongest sanctions in history” against Iran unless the country fulfills a list of demands.
On July 30 Trump said he is ready to meet his Iranian counterpart “any time they want to,” adding, “No preconditions. If they want to meet, I’ll meet.”

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