Iran in Caspian water talks with neighbors

Dec. 28, 2010 at 9:32 AM
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TEHRAN, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Iran signed measures of cooperation with neighboring Azerbaijan on the management of water resources from the Caspian Sea, Tehran said.

Mohammad Riyahi, the top official at Iran's Water Research Institute, signed a memorandum of understanding with Azeri counterparts. He said the agreements opened a new chapter of cooperation with what Tehran considers one of its most important littoral partners in the Caspian region, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reports.

He said the agreements are part of an effort to expand bilateral ties with Azerbaijan. The countries are negotiating terms of natural gas deliveries to northern Iran, where the mountainous terrain creates problems for the delivery of energy supplies from the south.

Tehran, meanwhile, disagrees with demarcations in the Caspian Sea from the Soviet era that stipulate Iran controls about 12 percent of those waters.

The Caspian Sea's littoral states are at odds over a 1921 treaty that divided the region between Iran and the Soviet Union. Iran believes its ownership is closer to 20 percent.

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