2019-08-15 ed-golshanltr p1

Oil derricks are seen in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on the Caspian Sea with the Bibi Heybat Mosque in the foreground in 2006. Mikhail Metzel/AP file

Nowadays news about Iran has typically something to do with the Persian Gulf. However, there is another story developing around the Caspian shores of northern Iran, which, in the long run, could be equally important.

Iran is currently entering in a new treaty with Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, replacing the previous agreements with the former Soviet Union.

According to the new treaty, natural resources, including the bed of the Caspian Sea are divided between the five coastal countries based on shorelines.

It has caused backlash among many Iranians who see it as a concession to Russia and believe the previous agreements with the Soviet Union divided Caspian resources equally between the countries.

The Iranian government and its supporters repudiate such claim and consider it infeasible.

Be that as it may, Russia’s most essential achievement was deterring western energy companies, such as Exxon Mobile, from pursuing Transcaucasia oil pump, which could put an end to Russian monopoly oversupplying European energy.

Furthermore, based on the new treaty, purportedly drawn up by Russian military analysts, only coastal countries are allowed to deploy naval force in the Caspian Sea. This also thwarts NATO and Chinese ambitions for military presence in the region through Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, respectively.

The new treaty seems to be a multifaceted win for Russia while for many Iranians it hearkens to the Tsarist expansionism in the 19th century.

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