Ardeshir Dadras, the head of the Iranian Compressed Gas Association (CNG), announced on November 2 that Iran, according to an agreement with Russia, has no right to withdraw from eight gas wells in the Caspian Sea. Although this statement was rejected by Kazem Jalali, the Iranian ambassador to Moscow, international observers said that the reaction of the regime’s ambassador to Moscow is due to the reaction of the Iranian people on the internet and social media.
In an interview with ILNA, Dadras stated that according to the agreement between the Iranian and Russian governments, Iran has no right to extract gas from the Caspian Sea’s gas resources as long as Iran’s gas balance is positive and domestic production meets consumption.
Dadres added, therefore, that we should think about the gas resources of the Caspian Sea at this time. Dadres attributed this to the agreement between the Iranian and Russian governments that Iran’s government is not allowed to increase Iran’s gas reserves to a level higher than Russia’s gas reserves.
Russia currently has 18.1 percent of the world’s gas reserves, and Iran’s share of the world’s gas reserves is 17.9 percent.
According to the Dadres, if the Iranian government withdraws from the Caspian Sea gas reserves, Iran’s share of world gas reserves will increase to 18.2%, which according to Dadres is contrary to the agreements that the Iranian government has already made with Russia.
The news of Iran’s ban on gas extraction from eight gas wells in the Caspian Sea, which is located in the waters of Iran, provoked many negative reactions among social media users.
While condemning this act and diminishing Iran’s interest in gas extraction, Iranian citizens cited the incompetence of Iranian government officials as the reason for the ban on gas extraction from wells in the Caspian Sea, and many of them attributed this to Russia’s expanding dominance over Iranian resources.
In the past, the division of the Caspian Sea water area in recent years had caused widespread criticism among Iranian society and on social networks.
Jalali reacted to Dadres’ remarks on Tuesday, November 2, stating that ‘this has not been the case during the more than 1.5 years he has been Iran’s ambassador to Russia.’ He described Dadres’ statement as ‘influential to Iran-Russia relations.’
Despite all the regime’s rejection which was expected and something usual by the regime, the state-run daily previously about this agreement wrote:
“Last week, Iran unveiled a large gas field in the country’s waters in the Caspian Sea, the Oil Price website reported. The Chalus gas field is to be constructed with the aim of creating a new gas pole in northern Iran to complement the country’s gas south pole with the focus of the massive South Pars field.
“The main developer of the Chalus gas field is Khazar Oil Company (KEPCO), but technical and financial assistance is also received from Russia and China.
“If initial estimates of gas reserves in the Chalous field are correct, Iranian gas will be able to supply at least 20 percent of Europe’s gas requirements. However, the number of exports, prices, and destinations of this gas is aligned with Russia, adding to Moscow’s dominance of Europe in energy, which is now one of the main themes of the dispute between Europe and its NATO partner, the United States.
“According to the author of the analysis, the reason Iran accepted this terrible change in its share of the spoils of the Caspian Sea was that it was negotiating a 25-year deal with China at the time, including a major important agreement with Russia.
“The deal with Russia was a legal necessity for a 25-year contract with China. For example, the deal allows Russian and Chinese aircraft and ships to use shared sites throughout Iran. It was added to existing multi-layered, 10-year agreements that Iran had signed with Russia until then.” (Bourse News, August 23, 2021)
The ’25-year agreement with China’ and the ’20-year agreement with Russia’ are the result of the regime’s policy of ‘looking to the East’. With the excuses such as benefiting from becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which is, in fact, to have the opportunity of a veto in the UN Security Council if its nuclear case becomes worse and facing inclusion under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter.