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Iran: Dialogue, not unilateral claims, key to settlement of Arash gas field row

The file photo shows a view of the Arash offshore gas field in the Persian Gulf.

Iran has once again reiterated the need to avoid unilateral claims and to resort to dialogue to settle a territorial dispute over the Persian Gulf Arash natural gas field shared with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

In a statement on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kan'ani said Tehran has always emphasized that the Arash field row should be resolved through dialogue based on the previous negotiations of experts.

He added that Iran "believes that an agreement on this issue can be reached in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect for common interests."

Kan'ani was responding to a joint statement issued on Tuesday by Kuwaiti Amir Sheikh Mishal al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa Al Khalifa claiming that the gas field is located entirely within the maritime borders of Kuwait and that its natural resources are shared between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

The Iranian spokesperson warned that "unilateral claims in different statements and media" are not considered a step forward to solve the case.

Kan'ani reaffirmed Iran's good neighborliness policy and promotion of ties with the neighboring countries, and said Tehran is ready to continue negotiations in a friendly and functional atmosphere with the purpose of reaching an agreed-upon solution.

The dispute over Arash, which Kuwaitis call Durra, dates back to the 1960s when Iran and Kuwait were awarded overlapping offshore concessions for the field following its discovery.

The dispute has seen several cycles of claims and counter-claims by the parties involved, becoming a key sticking point in relations between the three Persian Gulf neighbors. 

The field is estimated to hold 20 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, which could produce one billion cubic feet per day. Nearly 40% of the Arash gas field is located in Iranian waters.

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