UPDATE 1-Iran says Saudi Arabia exploring in banned border areas

Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:55pm IST

Related Topics

A statue of Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, is carried in a taxi to a place of worship on the first day of the ten-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai August 29, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Ganesh Chaturthi Festival

During Ganesh Chaturthi idols will be taken through the streets in a procession accompanied by dancing and singing, and will be immersed in a river or the sea in accordance with Hindu faith.  Slideshow 

* Riyadh accused Iran of encroaching on its oil, gas fields

* Tensions over Gulf boundaries, Saudi Shi'ite unrest, Syria

DUBAI Nov 20 (Reuters) - Iran accused Saudi Arabia on Tuesday of conducting exploration activities in prohibited border areas, hitting back at its major rival for regional influence after Riyadh complained of Iranian encroachments on its oil and gas fields in the Gulf.

Separated by 250 km (150 miles) of Gulf waters, Shi'ite Muslim power Iran and Sunni Muslim-led Saudi Arabia have tense relations. Riyadh accuses Iran of fomenting unrest among Shi'ites in its oil-rich Eastern Province, a charge Iran denies, and the two support opposite sides in Syria's civil war.

"Apparently Saudi Arabia has taken action for exploration activities in prohibited border areas," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said at his weekly news conference in Tehran, according to the official news agency IRNA.

"The necessary notices were given, and our country's point of view and our commitment to border agreements were conveyed to the Saudi ambassador in Tehran."

Mehmanparast was responding to a question about a Saudi complaint to the United Nations last week saying that Iran strayed onto its territory near oil and gas fields in the Gulf.

"We think that any differences can be solved in an environment of cooperation and with a spirit of partnership and understanding," Mehmanparast added.

The Saudi ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah al-Mualimi, was quoted in the daily newspaper Okaz last week as saying he had sent a letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that "details Iran's breaches of the official conventions and treaties between it and Saudi Arabia".


The letter said two Iranian navy boats had intercepted a vessel belonging to state-owned oil giant Saudi Aramco, and that Iranian helicopters flew several times over a gas field at Hasba.

Mehmanparast said it was the Saudis who were at fault.

"The violation that has taken place was on the part of Saudi companies and if this issue is to be followed up, they must be questioned," he said. "The discussion about water border limits between Iran and Saudi Arabia is subject to international laws and documents between the two countries."

This month, Iran impounded a Saudi Arabian fishing vessel that entered its southern territorial waters, according to Iran's official English-language Press TV.

Last month, Saudi border guards arrested 15 Iranians who tried to enter Saudi Arabia by boat, Saudi media reported.

Iran has had disputes with other Gulf neighbours as well.

Both Tehran and the United Arab Emirates claim as their own the three islands of Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb, which sit near vital oil shipping channels at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

Iran has said its sovereignty over the islands is non-negotiable. Mehmanparast was quoted last month as warning that Iran would consier downgrading ties with the UAE if it continued to make the claims, although state television later denied Tehran was considering such a move.

U.S.-backed Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 oil producer, supports the mainly Sunni Muslim rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Iran backs the Syrian leader, whose Alawite religion is derived from Shi'ite Islam.

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Market Eye




Factory activity expands at slower clip in August.  Full Article 

Modi in Japan

Modi in Japan

Japan aims to double India investment in 5 years - Nikkei  Full Article 

Market Outlook

Market Outlook

Indian shares headed for correction, but outlook strong - BofA Merrill.  Full Article 

India Infrastructure

India Infrastructure

RBI rule handicaps India's infrastructure hopes  Full Article 

Book Talk

Book Talk

Reema Abbasi and a glimpse of Pakistan’s Hindu past  Full Article 

China Economy

China Economy

Retreat in China's PMIs heightens calls for policy easing.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage