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Tehran reaffirms resolve to pursue rights in Arash gas field dispute

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Iran says it will not tolerate a violation of the nation’s rights over the Persian Gulf Arash natural gas field shared with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Speaking during a weekly press briefing in Tehran on Monday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan’ani stressed that the country has always adhered to “the path of dialog and consensus” about the operation of the oil and gas fields shared with its neighbors.

“As we officially said, we want joint utilization of the Arash gas field, and we announced our readiness for talks with the Kuwaiti side in this regard,” he added.

“However, if perhaps there is no desire for joint utilization of the field, Iran has naturally put on its agenda its own rights and interests concerning the exploration and utilization of its resources and it will not tolerate any violation of the rights of the Iranian nation.”

The government, he said, is obliged to defend and protect the rights and interests of the nation.

The remarks came after Kuwaiti Oil Minister Saad al-Barrak said that the Arab country’s plans for production from the field will not wait for border demarcation with Iran.

The maritime border demarcation dispute between Iran and Kuwait dates back to more than 60 years ago.

Some estimates suggest more than 70% of the resources of the disputed gas field, which is believed to contain up to 60 trillion cubic feet (1.7 trillion cubic meters) of gas, lie in waters claimed by Iran under the dispute with Kuwait.

Also in his comments, Kan’ani emphasized that Iran supports and abides by the settlement of border and maritime issues with its neighbors in a “friendly” manner.

He further noted that Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji announced Iran’s position on the disputed Arash gas field.

Speaking on Sunday, Owji said Iran will not stand idle in the face of any move by Kuwait or by Saudi Arabia on the gas field.

'Kuwait proposed pursuing issue in technical talks'

The spokesman underlined the need for pursuing the policy of good neighborliness and the resolution of disputes with neighboring states through dialogue.

He also referred to a recent meeting between Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and his Kuwaiti counterpart, Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, on the sidelines of a meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Azerbaijan's Baku.

During the meeting, “there was a consensus between the two sides and the Kuwaiti side suggested that we pursue the issue outside the media … within the framework of technical talks between the two countries,” Kan’ani said.

“Iran believes that such issues should be discussed within the framework of technical, specialized, and legal negotiations and that it is not helpful to raise them in the media.

“We stand ready to cooperate and talk with Kuwaiti brothers in this regard.”

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