Photo: Iran Foreign Ministry

Iran’s Foreign Minister demands action on water rights from the Taliban

Iran’s Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has visited Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan province, bordering Afghanistan, to address the issue of water rights from the Helmand River.

Accompanied by Iran’s representative and ambassador in Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, and the assistant minister of foreign affairs, Iranian media said.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry also said on Wednesday that Amir-Abdollahian spoke on the phone with the Taliban Foreign Minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, to discuss “water rights and to other bilateral issues.”

Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said, has demanded “practical action” from the Taliban on releasing enough water into Iran, the lack of which has “imposed a drought on the people of Sistan and Baluchestan.

Amir Khan Muttaqi has recently said that the Taliban recognises and is committed to Iran’s water rights to the Helmand River. “We hope to see more rainfall this year, and this blessing will lead to a surge in water reserves, enough to meet the needs of both Iran and Afghanistan,” he said.

The longstanding dispute over Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River has fueled tensions between the two countries. A 1973 treaty obligated Afghanistan to provide Iran with a flow of twenty-two cubic meters per second, but Iran has continuously voiced dissatisfaction with the fulfillment of this commitment.

Earlier this month, Iran’s Special Representative and Ambassador to Afghanistan, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, voiced frustration over the inadequate supply of water, highlighting that Iran is entitled to receive 820 million cubic meters under the treaty but received a mere 27 million cubic meters last year.