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Iran Proposes Formation of Joint Team with Afghanistan to Address Water Rights Issues

The Iranian interior minister has suggested creating a joint commission between Iran and Afghanistan to resolve the dispute over water rights between the two countries by carefully observing water levels in the Helmand River in southern Afghanistan.

Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s interior minister, said that the purpose of this joint team would be to ascertain Iran’s rights and to verify the Taliban’s claims of water shortage.

“The establishment of a joint committee to evaluate one of the dams named in the treaty was the key matter,” he said. 

Earlier, the Taliban authorities claimed that there was not enough water in the Kajaki Dam in Afghanistan due to drought in the country, and even if there were water, it would not reach Iran.

Earlier, Iran accused the Taliban of breaking the 1973 water pact by stopping water flow to the province of Sistan and Baluchistan, which borders southern Afghanistan. This sparked a deterioration in the relations between the Taliban and Iran.

Afghanistan must annually deliver 850 million cubic metres of water from the Helmand River to Iran in accordance with the 1973 agreement.

Iran has charged Afghanistan with breaking the agreement, but Kabul denies the charge. Relations between the two neighbours have been hampered for years by disputes over the Helmand water rights issues.