Friday, June 14, 2024

Analyst: Caspian Sea new focal point for concentration of power

A Eurasia affairs expert in Tehran says the Caspian Sea has turned into a new focal point for concentration of power by regional and global heavyweights under the new circumstances, namely Russia’s new renaissance, a powerful Iran, an ambitious Azerbaijan and a developing China.

“The Caspian Sea region has assumed a more important role for the littoral states and in the process of providing energy for Europe and Turkey,” said Ali Beman Eqbali Zarch in an article published on the website of the Institute for Political and International Studies (IPIS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic or Iran.

“The Caspian Sea lies between Europe and Asia, the two continents regarded as the world’s biggest markets for energy consumption today,” he explained.

“So, billions of dollars are spent to connect this region to other parts of the world,” he added.

He referred to Russia and Iran as the biggest regional players, and added other Caspian Sea coastal countries, namely Turkmenistan, the Azerbaijan Republic and Kazakhstan are emerging as other regional powers, too.

The analyst touched upon Iran’s special status in the Caspian Sea and added the southernmost part of the Caspian Sea is located in Iran and is very deep, holding two-thirds of the sea’s water.

He then referred to the role of extra-regional countries in the Caspian Sea, and highlighted, “In recent years, the United States has been pursuing important goals such as boosting the Caspian Sea to turn it into a hub for transportation, sustainable and safe production of energy, monitoring movements by Iran and Russia and resolving long-running disputes.”

“On the other hand, China has made large investments in some of the infrastructural projects in Central Asia,” he explained.

The analyst further underscored Russia’s attempts to exercise influence in the Caspian region.

“Russia has the largest naval fleet in the Caspian Sea. Russian trade and investment have grown in all of the Caspian Sea’s littoral countries,” he added.

“Organizations such as Eurasia’s Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union supported by Russia are seeking to make countries align themselves with Moscow through agreements and treaties,” he added.

“In the Caspian region, Moscow has focused on issues such as undermining the Western influence in the region, convergence among regional countries under the supervision of Moscow-backed organizations, discouraging foreign investment in Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan which can facilitate the flow of oil and natural gas supplies to the European market, and boosting economic activity with other Caspian Sea littoral states,” he said.

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