Iran Denies Deploying Troops Along Border with Azerbaijan
Iran denied on Saturday reports that it had deployed its armed forces on the border with Azerbaijan, against the backdrop of a dispute over oil exploration in the Caspian Sea.
The official Iranian news agency, IRNA, quoted the head of the press section at Iran's Embassy in Baku, Ezatollah Jalali, as telling a local Azeri TV reporter that Tehran and Baku would solve any problems through dialogue.
The Iranian Embassy's press section predicted that tension between the two countries would be eased and their problems resolved.
Press reports in Baku claimed recently that Iranian armed forces had been stationed along the border with Azerbaijan. This has not been confirmed by the ministry of national security and defense, said the agency.
Iran last week warned Azerbaijan to stop what it called “illegal exploitation of the Caspian Sea oil,” said reports.
The Iranian ambassador to Baku, Ahad Qazaie, was quoted by BBC Online as saying that any exploitation of the Alborz oil field by Azerbaijan was illegal and contrary to international conventions.
Qazaie said none of the five countries which border the Caspian were entitled to prospect in the sea as long as the status of the area remained undefined.
Earlier, Azerbaijan protested to Iran over a threat to two Azeri oil exploration vessels by an Iranian navy ship and a military aircraft.
The Azeri ships were leased by the oil company BP Amoco, which has announced it will suspend operations in the area until the dispute is resolved.
Tehran, which reacted angrily to an agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan in January, was negotiating with the former in February to reach an oil agreement.
Iran was seeking a strictly "equitable" sharing of the spoils, giving each country 20 percent regardless of the length of its coastline – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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