Landmark Caspian Sea deal signed by five coastal nations

The Guardian | : Convention seen as vital to break Iran’s sense of economic isolation after US sanctions

Vladimir Putin met the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, on Sunday at the close of a dramatic week in which each had been threatened with punishing economic sanctions by the US.

But they were not meeting to publicly agree a united response to the act of “economic warfare”, as Russia described the sanctions. The two presidents were in the small Kazakh coastal city of Aktau to sign a legal convention on the Caspian Sea.

After more than 20 years of fraught diplomatic efforts, the five littoral Caspian nations – Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan – agreed upon a legal framework for sharing the world’s largest inland body of water, which bridges Asia and Europe and has reserves of oil and gas as well as being a habitat for sturgeon.

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