Iran’s FM: Iran’s water rights issue could impact ties with Kabul

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the issue of Iran’s water rights from Hirmand River, known as Helmand in Afghanistan, could impact Tehran’s relations with Kabul.
Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a phone call with Taliban’s acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi on Wednesday, according to IRNA.
The Iranian foreign minister said that Tehran is seriously pursuing the issue of supplement of Iran’s water rights from Hirmand River in a practical way.
Amir-Abdollahian underscored that the complete implementation of the 1973 treaty is of great importance to Iran.
Referring to many problems facing Iranians in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan due to the water shortage, the Iranian top diplomat expressed hope that the Afghan side would take the necessary measures to release the water stored behind the dams constructed on the river.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi recently ordered the ministries of foreign affairs and energy in Iran to pursue the case of water rights, given the significance of the issue for people living in east of the country.
The Helmand River, the longest water course in Afghanistan, rises in the Hindu Kush Mountains, west of Kabul, and flows in an arc southwest until it empties out into the Hamoun wetlands, located in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan Province.
Following more than a century of rifts over the river’s water supply, Iran and Afghanistan signed the 1973 treaty, which established a means of regulating each country’s use of the river.
Iran should receive an annual share of 820 million cubic meters from Helmand River under the accord, which Afghanistan has grossly violated in letter and spirit.
Afghanistan has largely cut off the Helmand’s flow into Iran, endangering the lives of many Iranians who rely on the Hamoun wetlands for drinking water, agriculture, and fishing.
Afghanistan has further built dams on the Helmand River, which have constricted water flow into Iran.

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