Prince Reza Pahlavi suspects that Iranian authorities sold rights to Caspian Sea

Prince Reza Pahlavi suspects that Iranian authorities sold rights to Caspian Sea

August 12 will mark one year since the countries of the Caspian Five signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, which stimulated their interaction in various fields. The 1st Caspian Economic Forum, as well as meetings of economic and transport ministers, will be held in Turkmenistan on the anniversary of the event. The organizers hope that the Forum will give impetus to the trade, economic and investment cooperation in the Caspian.

A high-level group is currently working on the Caspian issues; the five-sided negotiations stipulated by the Convention on the Agreement on the Methodology for Establishing Direct Baselines in the Caspian Sea have begun; work is underway on the texts of agreements on cooperation in search and rescue, in the field of maritime transport, scientific research, navigation safety, and fighting with poaching and drug trafficking. "This is an example of how we managed to reach the international legal basis for further cooperation not under pressure from informal leaders who identified themselves as such, but by joint efforts, through consultations, lengthy and difficult negotiations," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

But as Radio Farda writes in the article Iranians Suspect Their Government Has Sold Out Iran’s Rights In Caspian Sea, many Iranians on social media are complaining about what they believe is Iran's unfair share of the Caspian Sea, the spokesman for the Islamic Republic of Iran's Foreign Ministry has dismissed "speculations" about the legal regime of the Caspian Sea as "untrue." The speculations and criticism of the Iranian government for compromising "Iran's rights" started on 29 July, when Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said at Iran's Parliament (Majles) that the Caspian Legal Regime has been "finalized." Zarif had added that Iran signed the convention in 2018 after it was approved by the Supreme Council of National Security, which is chaired by President Hassan Rouhani.

One of the most vocal critics of the new legal regime for the Caspian Sea, is Prince Reza Pahlavi, the heir to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi whose reign was terminated by the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Prince Reza's supporters have launched a campaign on social media against the new legal regime (convention). Reza Pahlavi has called on Iranians to "rise and protect the country's interests and territorial integrity by forcing those who have occupied seats in the Iranian Parliament to defend the country's rights." He reminded Iranians that "unity and sympathy are the only paths to victory." The Prince also questioned the "silence" of lawmakers in the face of the new Caspian Sea convention he believes caused harm to Iran's interests and rights. Referring to talks in Kazakhstan last year among littoral countries and Iran's reluctant position, he said it was unlikely that the Islamic Republic would guard Iran's interests.

After the signing of the convention Iranian President Hassan Rouhani mentioned that the delimitation of the sea remains an issue for Iran. Rouhani said further talks would be needed to resolve the division of the Caspian. Meanwhile, other Iranians on social media accused the Tehran regime of selling out Iranian territory to foreigners and accepting a meagre 11 to 13 percent share of the Sea.

In an apparent reply to public concern about Iran's rights in the Caspian Sea, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said "nothing new has taken place as regards the Caspian Sea," adding that first, demarcations must be finalized and then the Caspian Sea legal regime will have to be approved by the five littoral states." When all this is done, said Mousavi, the administration must come up with a bill and have it approved by parliament. Mousavi stressed once again that "none of these stages have been completed yet." 

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