Turkey Must Not Meddle in Caspian Issues

Teheran –The Entenkhab newspaper published an interview Thursday with two members of the National Security Committee of the Islamic Parliament titled "Turkey must resolve its internal problems rather than interfere in Caspian."

The same newspaper reported that the Turkish government has given official notice to the Iranian Ambassador of Turkey stressing that Iran must respect the national interests of Azerbaijan.

According to The Entenkhab the notice clearly states that ignoring the right of Azerbaijan by Iran will hinder relations between Ankara and Teheran.

"Turkey with its interference is trying to take advantage of the current difficulties in establishing a legal status of the Caspian region. A country which faces major minority and economic problems and has nothing to do with the Caspian is working hard to justify its presence in the region," the newspaper wrote.

The newspaper interviewed two members of National Security and Foreign Affairs Committees of Iranian Parliament Meysam Saidi and Hasan Ghashghavi.

Saidi stressed that Iran-Azerbaijan relations must not be hindered by any other country. He added that although Iran respects all its neighbirs,. the Iranian national interests as well as territorial integrity and other security issues remained a priority for the Islamic Republic.

Ghashghavi stressed that the Caspian problem must be resolved by countries that have access to the sea. Even an opinion expressed by another country in this case–according to international law–must be considered as an action of interference.

The United States backed Azerbaijan in its boundary dispute with Iran on Tuesday–saying that Iranian aircraft had provocatively violated the air space of its northwestern neighbor.

Commenting on a dispute that erupted in late July–the State Department said it had confirmed reports of Iranian violations.

"Such actions are provocative. Further–they’re counterproductive to efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of Caspian boundary disputes," spokesman Philip Reeker said.

"As we’ve repeatedly stated–the United States supports negotiation among the littoral states of the Caspian Sea to settle the question of boundaries," he added.

An Iranian gunship and a military aircraft last month ordered two Azeri research vessels hired by British oil company BP to retreat from an oil field claimed by both Iran and Azerbaijan.

The five states with Caspian coastline are at loggerheads on how to divide up the sea’s oil-rich territory. But the disputes have not deterred Western oil companies keen to develop the Caspian’s vast energy resources.

Reeker–speaking at a daily briefing–said the United States favored the economic development of energy resources in the Caspian basin according to free-market principles–using investment by international firms.

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