Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 143

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin yesterday told a Moscow briefing that Iranian deputy foreign minister Mahmud Vayezi has just held consultations with the Foreign Ministry in Moscow on Caspian issues. Russia and Iran agree that only littoral countries are entitled to determine the Caspian’s legal status, and that it is necessary to convene in the near future a high-level meeting of the coastal states to discuss that status. Moscow and Tehran will jointly "champion" the initiative, the spokesman said. (15)

Moscow is largely correct in claiming that Iran supports Russia’s doctrine on the indivisibility of the Caspian, inapplicability of international law, and joint control of Caspian mineral resources by the coastal states. Iran itself observes none of those principles, but supports Russia’s attempts to impose them on Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Iran’s main motives are the wish to minimize Western penetration of the region through oil projects and to keep its Turkic neighbors, primarily Azerbaijan, weak. Those goals largely converge with Moscow’s.

High Stakes in Tajikistan Talks.