On 12 August, after 22 years, the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was signed.
With the agreement being signed, the southern territorial waters between Iran, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan have been divided up. There has also been an agreement made about not allowing the presence of foreign ships or any export of natural resources.
For Iranians, this agreement is a stark reminder of the Turkmenchay Treaty signed in 1828 after the second Russo-Persian war (1826-1828)
In the war, the Russians in the south Caucasus and Azerbaijan soundly defeated Persia. So parts of the Persian Kingdom in the Caucasus, which also included Erivan Khanate and Nakhchivan territories, were no longer ruled by Persia/Iran but handed over to Russia.
A debate over Iran’s share of the Caspian is controversial and Mahmoud Sadeghi, a member of Iran’s Majlis (Parliament) in Tehran said recently “Everybody should know the MPs have no clue about behind the door deals.”
The ICANA government News Agency had a conversation with another Majlis representative on Sunday. He commented that Iran only received legal status for 12% of the Caspian Sea in the deal.
The Continuing History of the Caspian Sea Theft
After the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991, Iran’s then president, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, intended to interfere in the Muslim nations surrounding the Caspian. These were the republics separated from the USSR that Rafsanjani acknowledged as four individual states rather than one. Therefore he shut his eyes to Iran’s 50% share of the bedrock reserves.
Well, thanks to Rafsanjani’s waiver the new nations ventured to take resources from the Caspian under joint agreements. They also gave away much of the resources to American and European oil companies through mega contracts.
By the time Mohammad Khatami sat on the presidential seat Iran almost had nothing left of its 50% share and forwarded a suggestion to split up the coasts among the five nations. Khatami was pleased enough with 20% remaining for Iran.
Now that Iran faces international isolation and is getting crushed by the first round of US sanctions it again turns to its partners. The new Caspian Sea deal is meant to be a way of escape from, or to ease, the sanctions pressure. To do so the Iranian regime sells out what belongs to Iran and weakly gives away great economic interest. This regime has once again stolen the great blue resources.
The regime hasn’t even published the convention in Farsi yet. It is dreading the anger Iranians will undoubtedly express towards it. Iran remains silent about the deal and keeps it concealed. It will not give out details of the Caspian sellout until it can find a way to soften the blow of the sanctions. Iran’s record of throwing away national resources is a long one.
The Persian Gulf has been given away to China and the Chinese fishing industry sails the waters without limit to hunt down Iran’s water wealth. This has resulted in job losses for thousands of Iranian fishermen.
What profit is made from Iran’s Petrochemical industry is poured into the pockets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Nothing of it is provided to the people of Iran, instead it is spent on the IRGC’s occupation in the region or on the government leaders’ offspring living outside the country.
The question that remains is how much of the Caspian Sea is now left for Iran out of the 20% it used to own?