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Iran says disputed gas field with Kuwait 'not a big problem'

File photo shows senior aide to Iranian foreign minister Ali Asghar Khaji.

Iran believes a dispute with neighboring Kuwait surrounding a gas field in the Persian Gulf is not a big problem as a senior diplomat says the issue can be resolved given the good relations that exist between the two countries.

Ali Asghar Khaji, a senior aide to the Iranian foreign minister, said in remarks published on Sunday that Iran is not worried that the issue of Arash gas field, known in Kuwait as al-Durra, would become problematic in bilateral relations with Kuwait.

He said Iran and Kuwait could settle the dispute over the strategically important gas field through cooperation on the basis of the historical situation of the two countries.

The diplomat said Iran is "very optimistic" about resolving the issue notwithstanding the negative atmosphere that some media outlets seek to use to generate friction among regional countries.

“We are very optimistic about a settlement on Arash gas field regardless of the negative atmosphere that some media outlets want to use to create division among regional countries,” Khaji said in an interview with the Arabic-language al-Masirah TV.

The remarks come after a series of statements by Kuwaiti officials claiming that the country and Saudi Arabia own exclusive rights to resources of Arash, a field that straddles an undemarcated area in Iranian and Kuwaiti waters in the Persian Gulf.

That comes as some experts believe Iran could have the lion’s share of the gas field if its boundaries with Kuwait are demarcated.

Iranian authorities have expressed dissatisfaction over a contract signed between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia last year that enables them to develop the field and share its resources without Iran’s involvement.

Khaji said, however, that Iran believes the gas filed dispute with Kuwait can be settled through peaceful means, adding that Iran and Kuwait have held rounds of technical negotiations over the issue in recent years.

“This issue will not be a complicated one and it can be resolved given the goodwill of the Iranian authorities,” he said.

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