Amid ongoing water rights dispute, Iran says it ‘does not recognize’ IEA govt

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Thursday that Iran does not recognize the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan as the ruling body and called on the IEA to form an inclusive government. 
Amirabdollahian’s remarks, at a meeting between Foreign Ministry officials and Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Imam Khomeini, come amid rising tension between the two countries over what Iran claims is the IEA’s blatant violation of the 1973 Helmand River Water Treaty. 
“We do not recognize the incumbent ruling body of Afghanistan and we emphasize the necessity of forming an inclusive government in the country because the Taliban is one part of the reality of Afghanistan, not all of it,” he said.
He also said at the meeting that he has discussed the issue of water with the IEA but Tehran believes the issue must be resolved according to the 1973 water treaty between the two countries. 
“We have told Afghan authorities that the issue of [Iran’s] share of water cannot be resolved through a mere political statement and should be pursued within the framework of legal measures,” he said.
Over the past few weeks, Iranian officials have continued to accuse the IEA of violating the treaty, claiming water flowing to Iran is being blocked in Afghanistan. The IEA has meanwhile repeatedly said drought and climate change is taking its toll on the country’s water supply.
According to the treaty, Iran is entitled to 820 million cubic meters of water from the river annually, but earlier this month an Iranian official said it only received 27 million cubic meters in the past year.
IEA ‘committed to treaty’
On Monday, Afghanistan’s foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi said the IEA is committed to the 1351 (1973) water treaty with Iran but that Tehran must adjust its expectations considering the drought in the country and the region.
Muttaqi said “the drought in Afghanistan and the region should not be overlooked”.
He also referred to a recent International Rescue Organization (IRC) report which stated Afghanistan is the third most vulnerable country to climate change in the world, and the most damaging effect of climate change has been on the country’s water resources.
“We also expect the officials of Iran to adjust their expectations with the 1351 treaty, and the criteria for judgment and comments should be based on the provisions contained in the treaty,” Muttaqi said.
He said “there is no water in the Kamal Khan dam”, which is on the Helmand River, and Kajaki dam, also on the same river, has limited capacity for water as it’s filled with sediment. 
He said: “There is a serious need to consider these facts.”
Muttaqi also asked Iran not to politicize the issue of water and said: “It is better to solve such issues (water rights issues) through understanding and face-to-face talks instead of media noises.” 
He suggested talks two days before former US special representative Zalmay Khalizad urged the same.
On Wednesday, Khalilzad said in a series of tweets that Iranian leaders “are saber-rattling, threatening Afghanistan with a range of hostile actions”.
He said however the IEA authorities are being “surprisingly restrained and statesmanlike” over the issue.
Khalilzad pointed out that the IEA authorities have acknowledged the 1973 water treaty while arguing that the lower levels of water are due to drought and climate change.
He noted that the treaty “envisages remedies” for circumstances of disagreement, including bilateral engagement to find a solution, making use of the “good offices of a third party”, and if neither step works, then the issue should be submitted to arbitration.
“None of these have been tried yet. The Iranian regime must stop saber rattling,” Khalilzad said.
Iran’s ‘displeasure’
On Thursday, Amirabdollahian meanwhile raised a number of other issues at his meeting, issues that Tehran was not happy about. 
Referring to the close proximity and long borders between Iran and Afghanistan, he noted that there had been the occasional border skirmish. He also said he hoped there would not be a repeat of the Mazar-e-Sharif incident in 1998, which claimed the lives of eight Iranian diplomats at the consulate in the city.  
Tasnim news reported that Amirabdollahian reiterated that Iran does not recognize the nature of the current ruling power and stressed the need for an inclusive government, stating: “The Taliban is part of the reality of Afghanistan, not the entirety of Afghanistan.”
He further expressed displeasure with the deprivation of Afghan women and girls from education, considering it contrary to the teachings of Islam. The post Amid ongoing water rights dispute, Iran says it ‘does not recognize’ IEA govt first appeared on Ariana News.

Source: Ariana News

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