The Iranian Vice-President Mohammad Mokhber has urged his country’s government to pressure Afghanistan to comply with a 50 year-old agreement and release water on the Helmand River.
The ruling Taliban group of Afghanistan released water from the Kamal Khan Dam in January for the first time in decades. Iranian authorities, however, were not happy with the amount of water that reached them as most of it was used to irrigate Afghan fields surrounding the dam.
Mokhber said: “The government based in Afghanistan, according to valid international agreements, must respect Iran's water rights, and [be] committed to its release for the benefit of the people of Sistan and Baluchestan province, and resolve this issue as soon as possible.”
These areas have been struggling to access to potable water with, according to The water Diplomat, 1,680 villages in the region not having any piped infrastructure.
There is a 1973 treaty between Iran, but instability in Afghanistan has prevented its implementation to Iran’s satisfaction. Despite several rounds of talks between Iranian authorities and the new Taliban government of Afghanistan, a new agreement has not yet been reached.
The Iranian government is planning to stabilise water provision to the provinces of Sistan and Baluchistan through desalination of water coming from the Sea of Oman, however, it will be years before this is put in place as it has just received parliamentary approval.