Iran's Persian daily Abrar has warned against a planned Russian military maneuver in the Caspian Sea, thefirst of its kind since the collapse of the former Soviet Union.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the exercise, to be held sometime next month, is aimed to display Russia's alertness inthe war against terrorism and drug smuggling, as well as its preparedness in the wake of natural disasters.
But Abrar pointed out that the planned Russian exercise comes inthe wake of the summit of the Caspian littoral states in the Turkmen Capital Ashkhabad in April, a fact suggesting that political and security considerations could have prompted Putin's decision.
The five states bordering the sea, namely Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, failed at the summit to reach a consensus on how to divide the sea's resources.
"Since then, Moscow has been seriously pursuing its demands for dividing the sea's natural resources and justifying its unilateral operations in the waters," Abrar said.
The daily also criticized Russia for breaching all agreements reached between Iran and the former Soviet Union by carrying out unilateral exploration activities in the disputed sea.
The daily said Iran has proposed that the sea be divided equallyamong the five littoral states, but Russia is insisting that its share be conterminous with the length of its coastline.
The daily also warned that the planned Russian military maneuverin the Caspian Sea will in no way contribute to finding a comprehensive and fair legal regime for the strategic waters, and on the contrary, other littoral states could follow suit to furthercomplicate the problem.
The daily urged the five coastal states to refrain from taking unilateral actions and, instead, act to protect regional interests as well as establish a legal regime acceptable to all parties.