May 21, 2022 13:58 UTC
  •  Iran will use legal channels to resolve water dispute with Afghanistan: Khatibzadeh

Foreign Ministry spokesman says Iran will follow legal channels to resolve a dispute with Afghanistan over its water rights from the Helmand River.

Speaking to IRNA on Saturday on the sidelines of his visit to the Dogharoun border crossing, Saeed Khatibzadeh added that Afghanistan has so far failed to observe an accord on Iran’s water rights.

He noted that high commissioners of the two countries have discussed ways to secure Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River under a 1973 treaty signed between Tehran and Kabul.

Iran and Afghanistan signed the Water Treaty of Helmand River protocol in 1973. Based on the agreement, Afghanistan pledged to deliver an average of 820 million cubic meters of water per annum to Iran.

Iran has repeatedly criticized Afghanistan for failing to honor the agreement.

Afghanistan’s acting Taliban government announced in January that they had released water from the Kamal Khan Dam onto Helmand for the first time in decades. However, later statements showed that Iranian officials were not satisfied with the amount of water that had reached marches and wetlands in the Sistan region.

Iranian delegation due in Afghanistan over water dispute: MP

Meanwhile, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee said on Saturday that a delegation is scheduled to travel to Afghanistan to hold talks with the Taliban officials on the issue and other border disputes.

“Given the critical situation and the possibility of a drought, the Taliban must immediately recognize [Iran’s] water right to water in accordance with international regulations,” Fada Hossein Maleki said.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian criticized the acting Taliban government for its approach toward the Islamic Republic’s water rights, urging it to act in a better way.

“We are not happy with Afghanistan’s ruling government regarding the issue of Helmand. However, we had held meetings with the acting Afghan foreign minister and successfully secured a reaffirmation of the notion that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s right to the water of the River Helmand is reserved in several rounds of diplomatic talks, as well as in the Afghan media,” Amir-Abdollahian said in a closed session of the Iranian parliament.

He added that the meetings with the Afghan foreign minister were successful in allocating a portion of the river’s waters to Iran from Afghanistan’s Kamal Khan dam.