Tension intensifies between Tehran, Taliban over water rights
Tension between Tehran and the Taliban movement in Afghanistan have intensified, due to the dispute over the sharing of the waters of the common rivers between the two countries.
Tehran and representatives of the Taliban administration have failed to reach an agreement on the two countries’ share of water from the Hirmand River.
Ali Salajegheh, the head of Iran’s Department of Environment said a meeting between officials with Iran’s Ministry of Energy and their Afghan counterparts hit snag after disagreements over each side’s share.
Salajegheh has further warned that the construction of a dam on the Farah River in northern Afghanistan, will not keep the water flowing into Lake Hamun in Iran.
He recalled that after the construction of the Kamal Khan Dam in Afghanistan, many large and small dams were built and water was directed to the agricultural lands of Afghanistan.
Constructing of dams over the Hirmand River has heavily restricted the flow of water to Iran.
Kabul and Tehran signed a water sharing agreement on the Helmand River in 1973, according to which Afghanistan committed to deliver an average of 820 million cubic meters of water to Iran on an annual basis.
Iran has repeatedly criticized Afghanistan for not complying with the terms of the agreement as because of the wars in Afghanistan, the construction of the dam was delayed until 2014.
In May, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has expressed concern over the Afghan government's position on the rights that Iran has to the Helmand River, which it shares with Afghanistan.
He cited Sistan and Baluchestan in southeast Iran as being dependent on Helmand's water, warning that if the problem was not expeditiously and seriously rectified, it might harm other areas of cooperation between the two nations.
He further stressed that Afghanistan is committed to letting Iran use its water rights, offering to set up a team that might change the water's course to flow back towards Iranian territory.
Last month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi urged serious action on Iran's water rights while successive Afghan governments have been accusing Iran of stealing water, taking advantage of the climate of conflicts during the last period.
Tehran has long objected to the construction of the Kamal Khal Dam over this river, arguing it would result in drying up its wetlands in many parts of Iran, including the provinces on the Afghanistan frontier.