On Friday, Kazemi Qomi, the Iranian ambassador to Kabul, issued a fresh warning to the Taliban, urging them to get water rights as soon as possible.
Qomi said in a TV interview that Iran would act if it were proven that the Helmand River had sufficient water and Kabul refused to grant the neighbouring country its water rights.
“If there is water and the Taliban does not allow its flow to Iran, it is full proof for Iran that the issue is the nation’s right, and it knows how it should act,” Qomi said.
This comes a day after the Iranian foreign minister has once more pleaded with the Taliban’s leadership to allow an Iranian technical team to inspect the Helmand River dam built on Afghanistan territory.
“In recent months, I repeatedly asked the acting foreign minister of Afghanistan, Amir Khan Mattaqi, to fulfil his obligations according to the Helmand Treaty and make it possible for technical teams’ visit to measure the amount of water, which they did not,” The Iranian Minister stated.
“Sistan is suffering from drought. The criteria to assess the presence and absence of water is a technical and objective visit and not making a political statement,” he continued.
Iranian officials, including the president of Iran, have recently made critical remarks about water rights.
The Iranian president Ebrahim Raeisi warned the Taliban government on the water issue, “I warn the rulers of Afghanistan to give the water rights to the people of Sistan and Baluchistan immediately. If our experts confirm the lack of water, we have nothing else to say; otherwise, we will not allow the rights of our people to be violated, and this issue is not related to a specific period.”
On the other hand, the Taliban authorities responded to the Iranian demand that the “Water agreement between the two neighbouring countries was signed half a century ago in 1973 and is still valid, and the Islamic Emirate is committed to implementing its obligations.”
The Taliban officials also pointed out that there is not enough water due to drought in the country, “Due to severe drought in Afghanistan and the region in recent years, the water level has dropped, including the Helmand River. Hence, several provinces suffer from drought and lack of water.”
Following the conditions of the 1973 pact, Afghanistan pledged to supply Iran with 820 million cubic metres of water annually. Iranian officials have regularly criticized Afghanistan for disregarding the terms of the agreement.
While the Afghan authorities always repeatedly said that Afghanistan is committed to the agreement between the two nations. However, the water level dropped in the river due to drought in the region and country.