Iran reiterates claim on Afghanistan’s water resources

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has reiterated Tehran’s claim on its shared water rights with Afghanistan and said Tehran will not relinquish Iran’s right to the water,

In a series of Tweets on Monday, Amir-Abdollahian said he discussed the dispute with the Taliban’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi in Uzbekistan last week.

Abdollahian said he “emphasized in detail Iran’s right to the Helmand River water.”

According to him, the Taliban also underlined its compliance with Iran’s right to the water. “We agreed to take immediate measures. We will not relinquish Iran’s right to the water,” he said. He did not however clarify what these ‘immediate measures’ would be.

Abdollahian and Muttaqi met on Thursday on the sidelines of the Samarkand meeting on Afghanistan, which was convened to review the situation in the country.

Iran and Afghanistan meanwhile have had a long-standing dispute over shared water resources. Tehran has in the past accused Kabul of restricting water flow from the Helmand River by constructing dams on it.

The river, which originates in the Hindu Kush Mountains near Kabul, covers a distance of 1,127 kilometers (700 miles) and runs south before streaming into the Hamoun wetlands in Iran’s Sistan and Baluchestan provinces.

According to a 1973 water-sharing agreement, Afghanistan was required to allow an average of 820 million cubic meters of water to flow annually to Iran.

Last July, Abdollahian warned the Taliban that the unresolved water dispute could affect cooperation between the two countries, and described it as an “important index” of the Taliban government’s commitments.