Iran has always supported the establishment of a mechanism for collective efforts toward ensuring security in the strategic Caspian Sea region and promoting economic cooperation among its five littoral states, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says.
“This issue is very important in terms of security and national interests of all littoral states of the Caspian Sea,” Amir-Abdollahian said in an address to a meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea littoral states in Turkmenistan on Tuesday.
“We support a five-sided mechanism, including Russia’s recent proposal for establishing and finalizing a cooperation structure in the Caspian Sea, and we believe this initiative will strengthen cooperation in the Caspian Sea,” he added.
The top Iranian diplomat emphasized that Tehran also welcomes the proposal to hold the second Caspian Sea Economic Forum in Russia and believes that the Caspian littoral states should always pay special attention to trade and transportation in the sea for the sake of the development and prosperity of their respective nations.
Amir-Abdollahian urged the littoral states to put the issue of protecting the ecology and marine life in the Caspian Sea high on their agenda.
He hailed efforts made by the Caspian Sea littoral states to improve five-sided cooperation, despite the coronavirus outbreak.
The Caspian Sea is a landlocked body of water and is thus not a sea, but by virtue of its size as well as the special features of its water and seabed, it is not a lake either.
The legal status of the largest inland body of water in the world with its abundance of hydrocarbon reserves has been the subject of fraught negotiations for over two decades since the Soviet Union's collapse.
There are an estimated 48 billion barrels of oil and 292 trillion cubic feet (8.3 trillion cubic meters) of natural gas in proven and probable reserves in the Caspian basins and its surrounding area.
The Caspian Sea is also the natural breeding ground for the best sturgeon species including the giant beluga fish from which one of the world's priciest delicacies, caviar, is extracted.
Sturgeon stocks, however, have severely been depleted as a result of overfishing, with environmentalists hoping that the new agreement will boost preservation efforts.