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Iran objects to Caspian seabed pipeline construction
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14:20, January 25, 2009

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An official of Iran's Oil Ministry has objected to the seabed construction of pipeline in the Caspian Sea, Iran's satellite Press TV website reported on Saturday.

Hossein Noqrekar-Shirazi, Iran's deputy oil minister for international affairs, specifically pointed at the pipeline carrying oil from Kazakhstan to Azerbaijan through the bed of Caspian Sea and posed his objection.

"The pipeline carrying Kazakh oil to Azerbaijan will be constructed on the seabed and could pose threats to the ecological system of the Caspian Sea," Noqrekar-Shirazi was quoted as saying.

"Iran is against any plan that can disturb the ecological balance of the Caspian Sea," he added, noting that Russia also opposes the construction of the pipeline.

In May 2000, oil industry officials reported a huge oil deposits discovery in an area known as East Kashagan, in the Caspian Sea off the Kazakhstan coast.

The United States is said to have succeeded in getting Kazakhstan to sign a memorandum that might assist it to send oil across the Caspian Sea to Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which Russia and Iran would strenuously oppose on environmental and political grounds.

The five states surrounding the Caspian Sea are Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan, which have not yet mapped out what part of the sea is owned by which state.

Even if the terms are set, observers concede that, the oil exploitation from the Caspian Sea deposits still demands the littoral states' consent.

Source: Xinhua

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