Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf (Photo: Tasnim News)

Iran accuses the Taliban of deception and demands full share of water rights

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, the Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, has urged the Taliban to prevent a “serious problem” in Iran-Afghanistan relations by ensuring the fair sharing of water rights from the Helmand River.

During the parliamentary session on Sunday, Ghalibaf stated that the agreement on the Helmand River’s water rights is part of the longstanding history of Afghanistan and Iran’s relationship.

Ghalibaf added that the full and precise implementation of the agreement would be beneficial for both nations and would guarantee mutual interests and safeguard the “climatic, geographic, and demographic conditions of large parts of western Afghanistan and eastern Iran.”

The Speaker of the Iranian Parliament emphasised that there is no ambiguity regarding the Helmand River’s water rights.

He stated, “I ask Afghan officials to respond constructively to the positive will of the Islamic Republic, and considering the sufficient water reserves in the Afghan soil, prevent the emergence of a serious problem in the relations between the two countries.”

Iran has recently increased pressures on the Taliban over the amount of water reaching the country from the Helmand River, accusing the group of diversion and deceit.

On Wednesday, the Iranian President, Ebrahim Raisi, warned the group that it should deliver Iran’s share from the Helmand River.

“I am issuing a warning to the rulers of Afghanistan, that they should immediately give the water rights of the people of Sistan and Baluchistan,” Raisi said.

The Taliban attributes the water shortage to drought, while Iranian officials accuse the group of withholding the truth. Iranian authorities insist on granting access to Iranian experts to inspect the condition of water in the Helmand River and the dams constructed along its course, including the Kajaki Dam.