"The Caspian Sea is always a part of our national and vital interests," Iran's outgoing Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hassan Qashqavi told reporters in his last weekly press conference here in Tehran today.
Qashqavi, who has just been appointed as deputy foreign minister for consular, parliamentary and Iranian expatriates' affairs, further hailed a meeting of the country's officials recently held in Iran's northern city of Rasht on the Caspian Sea issues, and described the move as a good initiative by the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission
He said that the meeting was an indication of good cooperation on the issue by the parliament and the country's foreign ministry.
Qashqavi underlined that Iran's policy towards the issue remained unchanged, and added, "We will continue the previous path and framework and will pursue the case with our national interests and our rights and stake."
He underlined that the Caspian Sea could be the sea of peace and friendship, and noted that Iran is waiting for a meeting due to be held in Baku on the legal status of the sea.
The senior diplomat further reminded that the Islamic Republic of Iran enjoys strong relations with all its northern neighbors on the rims of the Caspian Sea, specially with the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The legal status of the Caspian Sea has been blurred since the breakup of the Soviet Union. Prior to that, Iran and the Soviet Union equally shared the resources of the lake.
After the breakup of the USSR, three newly independent states - Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan - bordering the Caspian Sea appeared on the scene, with their own demands.
Despite extensive negotiations, no agreement has been signed for the final legal status of what is in fact not a 'sea', but the largest lake in the world.
The Caspian Sea, the largest enclosed body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It has a surface area of 371,000 square kilometers and a volume of 78,200 cubic kilometers.
It was perceived as an ocean by its ancient coastal inhabitants, presumably because of its saltiness and seeming boundlessness. It has a salinity of approximately 1.2%, about a third the salinity of most seawater.