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Caspian Sea is a priority in Iran's foreign policy

BANDAR ANZALI, Oct. 9 (Mehr News Agency) -- The Caspian Sea issue and related matters constitute the most "specialized and technical" part of Iran's foreign policy, Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Thursday.

The Caspian Sea is a key part of Iran's national interests, Mottaki said in Bandar Anzali, Gilan Province during a one-day meeting on the Caspian Sea legal regime, which has still not been finalized.

He went on to say that Iran wants a fair share of the sea's resources and will not allow any country to conduct any exploration for or extraction of energy resources in Iran's 20 percent share of the sea until the legal status of the Caspian Sea is determined.

He also said that Iran is opposed to the presence of non-littoral states and organizations in the Caspian Sea.

According to agreements signed by Iran and the former Soviet Union, only the littoral states are allowed to conduct shipping and fishing activities in the sea, he added.

Caspian Sea from space (NASA, 2003) -- see high resolution

Elsewhere in his remarks, Mottaki advised the Caspian Sea states to avoid being dragged into an arms race in the region.

The largest lake in the world should remain "the sea of peace, friendship, and stability," he added.

The Iranian foreign minister also stated that there is an urgent need for an appropriate security mechanism to monitor activities in the sea.

Any decision made on the legal regime of the sea should be based on a consensus among the five littoral states and any decision made outside such a framework "lacks legitimacy and will not be implemented," he asserted.

... Payvand News - 10/10/09 ... --

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