Iran says ‘preliminary agreement’ reached on Helmand River water rights

Iran’s Foreign Ministry announced that it has achieved a “preliminary agreement” with the Taliban concerning the disputed Helmand River’s water rights. However, the ministry stressed the importance of responsible action from the Taliban moving forward.

Nasser Kanaani, the spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, stated during a press conference on Monday that the issue of water rights from Helmand River is “one of the serious and ongoing issues discussed by Iran” with the Taliban. He emphasized that the talks with the Taliban officials are continuing in a serious and close manner, and some partial agreements have been reached. Iran expects the Taliban to act “responsibly” on this matter, he added.

Kanaani pointed out that the Taliban has officially acknowledged Iran’s claim and recognition of water rights from Helmand River on several occasions. As a result, Iran is now looking for practical steps from the Taliban to validate this recognition, considering it a confidence-building measure, he said.

The issue of water rights on the Helmand River has been a longstanding concern between Iran and Afghanistan. The two countries signed the Afghanistan-Iran Helmand Water Treaty in 1973, which aimed to regulate water distribution from the Helmand River, a vital water source for both nations.

In recent months, there have been skirmishes between the Taliban and Iran regarding water rights along the shared border. These incidents have added tension to the already complex issue, prompting both sides to engage in discussions to find a resolution. The preliminary agreement signifies a step forward in addressing the water-related disputes between the two sides.