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Diplomatic history of the Caspian Sea

August 15, 2001
The Iranian

From Guive Mirfendereski's A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea: Treaties, Diaries, and Other Stories (Palgrave, 2001) .

-- Chapter titles and endorsements
-- Foreward
-- Introduction
-- Chapter 13: Taming of the Turkmans
-- Chapter 31: The Shah's Northern Navy
-- Chapter 33: Making Virtue of Necessity
-- Appendix

Letters & map

The landscape of Soviet-Iranian relations is planted thick with treaties and notes. There is also the memoir of the official or observations of the ordinary citizen that often lends the texture which is missing from the otherwise impersonal recounting of historical events by the pedantic scholar.

One such bird's eye rendering consists of a letter written by Ahmad Mirfendereski, a former Iranian diplomat, in which he testifies to the existence and contents of the legendary diplomatic note exchanged in 1962 between the Soviet Ambassador Pegov and Abbas Aram, the Iranian foreign minister, in which Iran promised not to entertain any foreign missiles (read, American) on its soil.

Apparently, the parties also used the occasion to affirmed the extent of the Soviet-Iranian boundary in the Caspian as a line form Astara to the Hassanqoli Bay. The text of the letter, in Farsi, is reproduced as a matter of record: The English translation of the document appears as Appendix 1 in my book "A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea". (Map: Astara-Hassanqoli line)

In Appendix 2 of the same volume there is also the English translation of the brief description by Admiral S. Anushiravani of the visit paid by the Iranian minesweeper "Shahrokh" to the Soviet naval installations in Baku in the summer of 1972.

At the time, the admiral was the head of Iran's northern navy and his personal account, in Farsi, reproduced below, bears witness to the limitations that the Soviets had placed on Iran's freedom of navigation in the Caspian.

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