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Iran calls for immediate halt to development of Arash oil field


Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has strongly criticized Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for their reported activities to develop the Arash oil field they jointly share with Iran, stressing that any measure to that effect must be stopped, IRNA reported from Tehran.

The Persian-language newspaper 'Iran' on Sunday quoted Zanganeh as saying that he had asked the Foreign Ministry to follow up the issue and see to it that any development in that connection is halted.

"The activities of these two countries without Iran's presence is meaningless and must be stopped immediately," he said. "Therefore, the Oil Ministry demands the Foreign Ministry to enter the issue, and prevent any further measure [over the development of the Arash field]."

The Arash field, with an estimated reserve of 754 million barrels of oil, is located in Iran's joint territorial waters with southern states of the Persian Gulf and has been a subject of dispute between Iran and Kuwait ever since 1960s.

The daily reported that Iran's preliminary studies over the field three years ago drew Kuwait's sharp reaction. The studies were immediately stopped upon the order of President Mohammad Khatami.

This is while certain Iranian press on Saturday quoted a report from the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) as stressing that Kuwaiti and Saudi oil ministers were considering to start talks on development of the Arash field within the next 10 days.

KUNA had highlighted remarks by Kuwait's Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad that he would soon meet his Saudi counterpart, and that the development of the Arash field would top the agenda of their talks.

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