Friday, May 17, 2024

Iran to seek arbitration if water share negotiations fail with Taliban: Vice president

Iranian Vice President for Legal Affairs Mohammad Dehqan says Tehran would seek arbitration if negotiations over water rights fail with the Afghan Taliban.

Dehqan told reporters on Wednesday that a 1973 accord between Iran and Afghanistan over water shares from Helmand River was “completely reliable.”

“We expect [our] Afghan brothers to act according to the accord,” Dehqan said. “After all, a Muslim keeps his promise.”

The Iranian vice president said the accord had envisioned all scenarios.

He added that firstly, Afghanistan is expected to act based on technical work and negotiations, as foreseen in the accord. “If, God forbid, the issue is not resolved through negotiation, the accord itself envisions a resolution through arbitration,” he added.

Iran says that Afghanistan has built several dams on Helmand with the purpose of diverting the flow of the water away from Iranian territory, which has resulted in a drought in the downstream Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan.

Iran’s space agency has used satellite imagery to prove the construction of the dams.

The Taliban, who took over in Afghanistan after the departure of US military forces in 2021, say they are committed to the 1973 accord with Iran but have refused to take up the matter seriously, citing a drought in Afghanistan itself and consequent water depletion.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi recently warned the Taliban to release water into Iran based on the territory.

And Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian has said the issue will affect ties with the Taliban government.

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