عنوان مقاله [English]
The Caspian Sea is the largest completely enclosed body of water in the world containing vast oil and gas deposits in its subsoil. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991and increase in coastal states from two to five, we have witnessed long negotiations; conflicting political and legal views; conflicting economic interests of coastal states; and contradictory theses presented by law experts regarding the legal status of the Caspian Sea without any success in resolving the problems related to it. Although sovereignty over the sea bed and subsoil resources is one of the uninfringeable principles of international law of the sea and one of the inherent rights of states, the extent of acting upon this right is tightly related to maritime delimitation. The Caspian Sea is geographically a border lake which is not subsumed under the definition of closed or semi-closed sea stipulated in 1982 Convention. On the other hand, from legal point of view, the Caspian Sea has some features which distinguishes it from others. These features require a special legal regime for it; a regime which should be formulated with the agreement of littoral states and by taking its historical record, former contracts, and new facts into account. At the same time, studying other regions in the world shows hat the lack of maritime delimitation is not an obstacle for exploiting seabed and subsoil resources and states can exploit these fields through adopting measures such as common development of oil and gas fields and establishing common institutions.