KABUL – Iran’s energy minister has reiterated Tehran’s stance on securing its rightful share of water from the Hirmand River in its ongoing dispute with the Taliban.
Iran’s Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian once again intensified the pressure on the Taliban government on Saturday, stating that Iran will not tolerate any compromise on its water rights. He further contended that even if the water share is not provided, Iran will take necessary measures to ensure its people have access to water. This is as Taliban say not enough water flows through Helmand river anymore due to droughts.
Originating in the Hindu Kush Mountains near Kabul, the Hirmand River, known as Helmand in Afghanistan, flows approximately 700 miles and enters Iran’s Hamoun wetlands in the Sistan-Baluchestan province. In the past, Lake Hamoun was one of the largest wetlands globally, spanning 4,000 square kilometers across Iran and Afghanistan. Both countries heavily rely on this river for agricultural and drinking water needs, making it a longstanding source of tension.
Over the years, Iran has accused Afghanistan of obstructing the water flow by constructing dams along the river, a claim denied by Afghan authorities.
Meanwhile, reports of water shortages have been increasing in various regions of Iran, particularly in Sistan and Baluchestan province. Alireza Ghasemi, the CEO of Sistan and Baluchestan Province Water and Sewerage Company, revealed that the province faces a significant water shortage of around 65 million cubic meters annually, impacting all cities in the region.
Despite Iran’s rightful share of water from the Helmand River being twelve times the amount the Taliban is willing to concede, the group has refused to comply with Iran’s scrupulous demands, leading to an escalation of tensions between the two parties.