News ID: 323181
Published: 0240 GMT July 29, 2022

Iran warns Taliban against violating its water rights

Iran warns Taliban against violating its water rights

International Desk

Iran’s Foreign Minister talked with his Afghan counterpart on the phone on Thursday to realize Iran’s water rights from the Hirmand River. It was also announced that a high-ranking delegation from Iran’s Energy Ministry will be sent to Afghanistan to follow up on the matter, which was welcomed by the Acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi.

On top of repeated droughts in recent years, Afghan administrators have blocked Hirmand’s water from following toward Iran, consequently putting the agriculture of Iran’s southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan in danger, drying up Hamoun international wetland, and causing environmental problems such as haze in the region. Iran and Afghanistan have long been disputing over the right to use Hirmand’s water. After many bilateral meetings, Kabul pledged to supply Iran with an average of 26 cubic meters of water per second (or 850 million cubic meters annually).

In recent years, however, the agreement was not implemented satisfactorily. The construction of the Kajaki and Kamal Khan dams over the Hirmand river have reduced the water that flows into Iran, disturbing the environment and economy of Sistan and Baluchestan Province and distressing the people of the region.

The people of the region were so concerned that Iranian President Seyyed Ebrahim Raeisi assigned Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian with the task of resolving the issue. During the phone call with the acting Afghan foreign minister on Thursday, Amir-Abdollahian noted that delivering Iran’s water rights is “a significant criterion that assesses how much the Afghan governing body honors its international obligations towards the Islamic Republic”. In response, Muttaqi reaffirmed the Taliban’s commitment to respecting Iran’s water rights, adding that they will send water toward Iran “when there’s water available”. Amir-Abdollahian also warned the negative impact the issue might have on bilateral cooperation in other areas should the resolution take time.

Amir-Abdollahian’s warning comes at a time when Iran has treated Afghan refugees and immigrants residing in Iran with goodwill and kindness. What is more, ever since the Taliban took power again in Afghanistan on August 15 last year, Iran has continually sought to meet the needs of its eastern neighbor despite not recognizing the Taliban. Taliban officials, for their part, have acknowledged Iran’s aid. So, to maintain and strengthen ties with Iran, the Taliban must also acknowledge Iran’s rightful legal demands including the water rights to Hirmand River.



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