Friday, June 19, 2020

Delimiting Caspian Seabed Will Be More Difficult than Delimiting the Surface Was, Iranians Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 17 – When the five Caspian littoral states agreed in August 2018 to the division of the surface of the sea among them after years of talks, many assumed that that accord was the end of the matter. But a senior Iranian analyst reminds everyone that that agreement did not address a particularly thorny issue: the delimitation and demarcation of the seabed.

            That is where the natural wealth is and where pipelines pass, and consequently, it is even more important for all the littoral countries to agree on that, but Mahmud Shuri, deputy director of Tehran’s Center for the Study of Iran and Eurasia, says the countries are far from the additional agreements the earlier accord requires (

            Iran is the only one of the five states that has not yet ratified the earlier accord, but it is working hard to reach agreement on the seabed with the other four, Shuri says.  Progress has been made with the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan but not yet very much with Iran’s two neighbors, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. 

            The Tehran scholar says that borders including seabed ones are extremely sensitive issues among Iranians and that he “does not expect that consensus in Iranian society on the issue of Caspian borders will be reached in the near future.”  What this means is that the issue of the delimitation of the Caspian is not yet solved and may not be anytime soon. 

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