(Persia Digest) – The Iranian Foreign Minister has reiterated: “The Caspian Sea Convention not only protects our territorial integrity, it also expands friendly ties with our northern neighbors.”

Javad Zarid stated that the talks at the summit were conducted in Russian and Persian, adding: “It has taken over a year for the littoral countries to reach an agreement regarding the convention.”

Zarif continued: “At the end of the 90s, Russia and Kazakhstan reached an agreement for subsoil resources in their territorial waters, dividing it 17-18.5 percent for Russia and over 30 percent for Kazakhstan.”

He went on to say: “But there is no agreement between Iran, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan for the subsoil resources and the convention makes no such provisions.”

He reiterated: “But we have conducted very good talks on this issue with the other two countries to use the main subsoil resources.”

Zarif also stressed that no divisions had been made for the surface waters, but pointed to the 15 nautical miles of water extending from the coastline as being territorial waters, and 10 nautical miles as the exclusive fishing area of the country.

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Iran’s top diplomat added: “We are not likely to reach any agreements soon regarding the ocean floor and subsoil.”

Zarif refuted some claims that Iran’s share of the Caspian is 50%, saying: “This claim has no basis in the 1921 and 1940 agreements.”

Zarif pointed out that an important feature of the Caspian Sea Convention is that no single country can make any decisions about the Sea without the other littoral countries. He also commented on the 11 percent share of Iran from the Sea, saying this is also not valid.

He added: “We have set a 20 percent share for the use of the ocean floor and subsoil resources.”

Zarif emphasized that talks about Iran’s 11 percent and 50 percent shares of the Caspian Sea were both invalid, adding: “The dispute settlement authority for the littoral countries has been set as negotiations between them.”

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