On Sunday, the Iranian regime signed an agreement with Russia and three other countries regarding the Caspian Sea. The agreement in principle laid out how to divide up the potentially huge oil and gas resources within the sea, which could pave the way for energy exploration and future pipeline projects.
However, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi noted that this treaty is just another example of the Iranian mullahs’ greed and their mismanagement of the resources of the Iranian people and was given away to protect the regime.
“For Khomeini, Khamenei, and Rouhani, neither water, nor the land, nor the culture, nor the lives, nor the wealth of the Iranian people have any value. Only one thing matters: Preserving the rule of the mullahs, which Khomeini described as the ‘absolute imperative,’ and for which one can abrogate Islamic edicts, and first and foremost, give away the land and water of Iran and its people and massacre its valiant children in the prisons,” said Rajavi.
In the state-run daily Etemad on August 12, a Majlis Deputy was quoted as saying, “Given the timing and particular political circumstance, negotiations about our share of the Caspian Sea and similar issues do not serve our interests.”
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) defended the treaty, arguing that Iran’s original position was unrealistic. The IRGC is an active part of the Iranian economy and has benefited from the lifting of sanctions related to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Disagreements about the legal status of the sea have prevented some key projects from moving forward, including a pipeline that would have allowed natural gas to be shipped from Turkmenistan and giving that country the ability to compete with Russia on the energy market. Russia has blocked the project for years, citing environmental concerns. The treaty is seen as potential way to move that project forward, although there are still many doubts.
For the Iranian government, Russia is an ally that will support them and allow them to remain in power. Thus, Iran is willing to concede on the Caspian Sea for the continued support provided to Iran through Russia within the United Nations. The dispute over the sea began when the Soviet Union was dissolved. Until then, Iran and the Soviet Union had a clear division of the Caspian Sea.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani indicated that the agreement did not cover everything and that border delimitation would require further work and separate agreements, but the agreement did create a foundation for those future agreements.