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Iran denies it has given up Caspian Sea gas rights to Russia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iran’s envoy to Russia denies reports suggesting Moscow controls rights for drilling gas in Caspian Sea.

Iran’s envoy to Russia Kazem Jalali has denied reports suggesting that Tehran should obtain Russia’s approval before any decision to drill for natural gas in the Caspian Sea.

“Over the 20 months that I have served as ambassador in Russia there had been no such issue,” Jalai was quoted as saying on Tuesday by the official IRNA news agency.

“Unfortunately, some reports are published in the media space from time to time to influence Iran-Russia relations,” he said.

The comments came a day after an Iranian energy businessman said that Tehran had to obtain Russia’s consent for taking gas from eight major wells that are located in the Iranian waters in the Caspian Sea.

Ardeshir Dadras, who serves as president of Iran’s Syndicate of Compressed Natural Gas, told the ILNA news agency on Monday that Iran and Russia had agreed that tapping the Iranian gas wells in the Caspian Sea would only be possible if Iran’s demand for gas exceeds its output.

Otherwise, Dadras claimed in the interview, that Russia would have the right to protest against any extraction of gas from the reserves because the move would hurt Russia’s position as the largest holder of natural gas resources in the world.

However, Jalali said that Iranian judicial authorities have a duty to examine whether the comments made about the issue are true or they are simply meritless.

A Tuesday statement by Khazar Exploration and Production Company (KEPCO), the Iranian firm which controls petroleum operations in the Caspian Sea, also denied the claims by Dadras, saying they were utterly baseless and constituted spread of lies which is a crime under the Iranian lies.    

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