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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ashgabat Wants Iran In on Caspian Talks

Turkmenistan will only discuss issues relating to ownership of the energy-rich Caspian seabed if Iran is a party to negotiations, Interfax reported Ashgabat's Foreign Minister Boris Shikhmuradov as saying Sunday.

The discrimination by former Soviet republics that border the sea against Iran must end, he said.

Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran disagree about how the Caspian should be divided, potentially putting offshore energy production and exploration projects at risk.

Shikhmuradov said proposals by Russia's Caspian envoy Viktor Kalyuzhny, which include the creation of a single center for administering the Caspian and restricting Iran to a zone formerly agreed with the Soviet Union, "were rejected in Ashgabat."

Russia has advocated that the Caspian Sea be treated as a lake, which suggests it should be developed mutually by all neighboring countries. If the Caspian is recognized as a sea, sectors could be divided up between nations.