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Iran edges towards deal with Taliban in Helmand water dispute

AT News

KABUL – An Iranian official has reported an informal understanding between Tehran and the Taliban regarding the sharing of water from the Helmand River, previously denied for an extended period.

The Helmand River plays a pivotal role in sustaining agricultural and drinking water needs for both Iran and Afghanistan. Despite its vital significance, tensions surrounding this river have persistently strained relations between the two neighboring countries.

Ali Mohammad Tahmasbi, an advisor to the Iranian Environmental Protection Organization, stated that during a visit by Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Afghan First Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, there was an assurance to address the Helmand River issue once conditions permit.

Baradar led an Afghan delegation that engaged in discussions with Iranian officials, including Ali Salajegheh, the head of the Iranian Environmental Protection Organization.

According to reports from the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA), Tahmasbi highlighted the expectation for the Taliban to honor the release of the Helmand River’s water share, emphasizing principles of good neighborliness and the need to bolster regional relations.

Iran has accused Afghanistan of hindering the river’s water flow through dam construction, an allegation vehemently denied by Afghan authorities. Iranian officials and environmentalists argue that dam construction in the river worsens issues in Iran’s water-scarce Sistan-Baluchestan province.

The issue of Iran obtaining its rightful water share has been a persistent disagreement between the two countries. However, with the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan, these disagreements have intensified, leading to recent disputes between the neighboring nations.

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