Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini needed to go before the reporters to reject his own minister’s assertion on Iran’s share of the Caspian Sea resources. On Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki had said that “Iran's exploitation of the Caspian Sea has never been higher than 11.3 percent.” Hossini said not so fast. In his press conference on Monday, Hosseini emphasized that Iran's share of the Caspian Sea resources will be “around 20 percent.” He added, “Tehran has always made efforts to reach the quota and will not forgo its right.”
Mottaki, talking to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark Eid Ghadir, has put Kazakhstan's share of the Caspian Sea at 24%, Russia’s and Turkmenistan at less than 20% and Iran’s at 11.3% (IRNA, 30 December).
In 1921, the Iranian government had signed an accord with the Russian revolutionary government headed by Lenin dividing the resources of the sea equally between the two countries. The collapse of the Soviet Union and its replacement on Caspian shores with four independent states of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan created a new situation. Many Iran analysts believe that the accord signed in 1921 is still legally valid and binding. It is the 50% share of the former Soviet Union that needs to be redistributed among the four new republics. The current government in Iran, however, has not backed the claim and seems ready to accept a 20% share based on “principle of justice.”
Mottaki is suggesting a percentage for Iran even lower than what had been suggested by Russia. The Russians argue Iran’s share is at 13.6% based on the length of its coastal line. Mottaki has not backed down personally and it is not clear whether Majlis would impeach him for his remarks.