Habibollah Dahmardeh, a member of the Iranian parliament from Sistan and Baluchistan province, has advised the country’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, to obtain a guarantee from the Taliban over Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River.
A newsletter on Wednesday, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that Dehmardeh raised alarm about the possibility of a humanitarian crisis in Sistan and Baluchistan Province of Iran due to the water shortages and urged the Taliban to pay serious attention to this issue. He proposed to receive practical guarantees from the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan to ensure Iran’s water rights.
Habibollah Dehmardeh added that “Based on the past year’s experience of negotiating with Afghanistan authorities, it has become evident that securing water rights necessitates the adoption of new approaches and greater coherence among different government entities.”
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According to the newsletter, Iran’s Foreign Minister emphasized that Iran is serious about realizing the rights of the Iranian people to access water from the Helmand River. He added that the issue had been a primary topic in discussions between himself, Iran’s Embassy in Kabul, and Iran’s Ministry of Energy, with the Taliban during bilateral and multilateral meetings, including the recent gathering of Afghanistan’s neighboring countries in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
According to the Iranian chief diplomat, the Taliban has reaffirmed its commitment to Iran’s water rights and Iran expects the group to ensure water will reach Sistan and Baluchistan of Iran.
Earlier in April, the Iranian Foreign Minister tweeted that Iran will not give up on its water rights over the Helmand River.
Iran’s water rights over the Helmand River have long been a point of dispute between the two countries. In a treaty signed in 1973, Afghanistan committed to the flow of twenty-two cubic meters per second into Iran. But Iran has long complained about the commitment not being fulfilled.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan has built a dam named Kamal Khan along the Helmand River in southeastern Nimruz province with a storage capacity of 52 million cubic meters of water, costing over $200 million. The dam has the capacity to irrigate about 174 thousand hectares of agricultural land.