0420 GMT April 19, 2019
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday some 30% of differences over the Caspian Sea legal regime has been solved so far and other issues are left to be resolved.
President Rouhani made the remarks during a cabinet session on Wednesday and a few days after the 5th Caspian Sea Summit which was held in Kazakhstan’s port city of Aktau on Sunday, IRNA reported.
The summit featured the signing of a historic convention on the Caspian Sea’s legal status.
Rouhani, who along with Iranian foreign minister attended the summit, said talks over the resource-rich sea had been underway for more than 20 years, noting that some issues were resolved during the talks.
The five Caspian Sea littoral states sign a historic convention on its legal status.
He said that northern countries of the Caspian Sea agreed on some parts of the issues.
Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan agreed on certain issues concerning the sea’s northern part. Moscow was found entitled to 17 percent of the maritime expanse, Rouhani said.
Iran, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan also agreed over a number of issues pertaining to the southern side, he added.
He, especially, hailed the resolution of the outstanding issues regarding the Caspian "security" during the summit.
“The US and the NATO [military alliance] had plotted to establish their presence on the Caspian coasts and deploy their forces there,” Rouhani said.
“Based on this agreement, however, the establishment of military bases and the presence of foreign vessels in the Caspian Sea were banned,” he said, adding, “It was agreed that any ship seeking to sail in the sea should [do so] under the flag of one of the five littoral states.”
“We had good agreements with Azerbaijan which are being implemented while part of the issues still remains unsolved.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the territory of none of the five littoral states can be used for launching a military aggression against another state, President Rouhani added.
“We also agreed that Iran must receive special concessions for its coastal base lines and must have a territorial sea up to 15 miles from its base lines and an exclusive fishing area up to 10 miles from territorial waters.”
Rouhani said that the Iranian ships can commute all over the sea and we can make use of the port, tourism and economic capacities of the sea.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday dismissed claims that Tehran has ceded a significant part of its territorial rights to the Caspian Sea in a recent treaty it signed with four other littoral states, saying that Tehran has not retreated from its stance on the issue.
Speaking to the Persian-language news website Alef, Zarif vehemently rejected claims that in the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, Iran’s share of the sea has reduced from 50 percent to 11 percent.
The top diplomat said such figures are not correct, adding that no shares of the sea have been determined yet other than for Russia and Kazakhstan.
Zarif further emphasized that the Iranian administration has not retreated (from its stance) or relinquished its rights to the Caspian Sea.
The remarks came after some Western media outlets claimed that in the recent treaty, Iran has easily abandoned its share of the Caspian Sea after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The convention was aimed at resolving a dispute over the status of the Caspian Sea which dates back several decades, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Prior to that, Moscow and Tehran had signed a series of treaties, the last two of which defined the Caspian as a "Soviet and Iranian sea" but without establishing any maritime boundaries.
Tasnim News Agency contributed to this story.