Iran’s foreign minister says team will visit Afghanistan to assess dams

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday that a technical team from Iran will imminently travel to Afghanistan to assess the condition of dams in the region.

In an interview with Iran’s state TV, Abdollahian disclosed that Iran has been actively pursuing the matter of its water rights with the Taliban, and the Iranian president has issued special instructions concerning this significant issue.

“Our primary focus is reclaiming our rightful water rights from Afghanistan, based on the 1973 agreement. While the Taliban had pledged to fulfill their obligations, they have yet to honor their commitment, leading to the release of water that flowed towards Iran,” he explained.

An agreement has been reached with the Taliban, stipulating that a team will inspect the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan, and this delegation will utilize available resources to evaluate the water index.

Amidst a recent bout of water scarcity and reduced water transfer to Iran about a week ago, Abdollahian firmly maintained that these challenges do not diminish Iran’s demand for its rightful water share.

The issue of water rights has been a long-standing and contentious matter between Afghanistan and Iran, with tensions escalating in recent months.

The Taliban has assured Iran that it will uphold the country’s water rights in accordance with the 1973 treaty.

No Recognition of the Taliban

Discussing the contrasting stances of former Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the Taliban, the Iranian diplomat pointed out that Ghani had made an “audacious” statement several years ago when he inaugurated the Kamal Khan dam, suggesting, “if you want, we will give you free water, and give us free oil.”

Abdollahian clarified that the current Taliban “government” did not engage in such discussions and has acknowledged Iran’s water rights under the 1973 water treaty.

“We refrained from acknowledging the Taliban in the political sphere until they formed an inclusive government, which has led to some discontent,” he asserted. “We made it unequivocal that we cannot overlook this matter. Afghanistan is not exclusively composed of Pashtuns and the Taliban; it encompasses other ethnic groups as well. Due to our geographical proximity and the situation of neighboring populations, we have established various layers of cooperation with the ruling movement. Our efforts are aimed at ensuring the establishment of an inclusive government in Afghanistan and averting an influx of immigrants.”

On Wednesday, the Taliban’s acting foreign minister, Amir Khan Muttaqi, claimed that their government is more “inclusive” than many other administrations that have urged them to form an all-inclusive government in Afghanistan.