Iran Warns Azerbaijan over 'Unilateral' Exploitation of Caspian Sea Oil
Iran has 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 the threat to two Azeri oil exploration vessels by an Iranian navy ship and a military aircraft, said the BBC.
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.
Iran rejects bilateral accords on the Caspian and has said the five countries are in agreement that the Soviet-Iranian accords of 1921 and 1940 should be the basis for future agreements.
The five littoral Caspian states — Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran - since 1991 have been debating this issue with little progress. Under the 1921 Treaty of Moscow, Iran and the Soviet Union divided the resources in the Caspian. In 1991, however, this arrangement was declared defunct, as three new states gained the right to the Caspian's resources.
According to some estimates, there are 200 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet (18 trillion cubic meters) of gas reserves under the Caspian, the lion's share of which are held by Azerbaijan – Albawaba.com
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