Iran vows to 'pursue rights' in disputed offshore gas field shared with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

Iran vows to 'pursue rights' in disputed offshore gas field shared with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia

Long-running dispute over Persian Gulf gas field revives in recent months

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

TEHRAN (AA) – Iran's oil minister has said the country will continue to pursue its rights and interests in the Arash gas field as the row over the disputed Persian Gulf maritime field intensifies.

Javad Owji made the remarks on the sidelines of a meeting in Tehran to review the development of oil and gas projects.

Emphasizing Iran's claim on the offshore gas field, Owji told the Ministry of Petroleum-affiliated Shana website on Sunday that if other parties do not show a "desire for understanding and cooperation," the country will include exploration of resources in the gas field in its plans.

However, he hastened to add that Iran "supports the amicable settlement" of the long-running dispute with Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

The strategically located offshore gas field was developed in the 1960s and is yet to be demarcated between Iran and Kuwait, which is also shared with Saudi Arabia.

The gas field contains large gas reserves, with some estimates putting it at 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 300 million barrels of oil.

Owji said Tehran has "sought the path of negotiation and understanding" with its neighbors, referring to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, but "will not tolerate any violation of its rights."

Kuwait's Foreign Ministry said earlier this month that it and Saudi Arabia have "exclusive rights" to the maritime gas field known as Al-Dorra in the two Arab countries.

It was followed by a statement from the Saudi Foreign Ministry claiming "full rights" with Kuwait over the gas field, as reported by the Saudi state news agency SPA.

The statements revived the long-running dispute between the three Persian Gulf neighbors months after Iran restored diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia after seven years.

On the sidelines of a meeting of NAM foreign ministers in Baku on July 5, Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian held talks with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Salem Abdullah al-Jaber, with a focus on the gas field dispute.

Last year, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia agreed to develop the offshore gas field, which Iran dismissed as "illegal."

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh at the time said the gas field is a joint offshore gas field shared by the three Persian Gulf states, and that Iran "reserves the right to develop and operate the field in coordination with other two parties."

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