Afghan, Iranian ministers discuss Helmand River water treaty over phone


KABUL (SW) – The foreign ministers of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan and Islamic Republic of Iran have held telephonic conversation over the Helmand River water treaty between the two countries.

Iran’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Amir Abdullahian, in a telephone conversation with Amir Khan Muttaqi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate, called securing Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River as a ‘serious demand’.

In a tweet, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran confirmed the telephone conversation between the two sides and said that Amir Abdullahian told Muttaqi that releasing water from Afghanistan and securing Iran’s water rights in a practical way is a serious demand of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this has an effect on the relations between the two sides.

The Foreign Ministry of Iran added: “The Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic, referring to the many problems that the lack of provision of Iran’s water rights and the resulting drought has imposed on the people of Sistan and Baluchistan, expressed the hope that the Afghan side will take the necessary effort to release the water from the dam.”

Amir Abdullahian also pointed to cases of tension and conflict between the border forces of the two sides and called it a negative factor in the relations between the two countries and said: “Commitment to the security of the common border is our red line.”

Recently, there have been reports of a clash between the border forces of Iran and the Islamic Emirate and at least one person has been killed in these clashes.

Until now, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Emirate has not commented on this telephone conversation.

For some time now, the issue of securing Iran’s water rights from the Helmand River has been seriously discussed by Iranian authorities, and the Islamic Emirate is always accused of violating the treaty.

On Monday of the current week – 25 Thor – Hassan Kazemi Qomi, the ambassador and special representative of the Iranian president for Afghanistan, accused the Islamic Emirate of violating its obligations regarding the provision of Iran’s water rights from the Hirmand River and said that out of the 820 million cubic meters of the agreed share between the two countries, Last year, only 27 million cubic meters of water entered Iran from this river.

Qomi also said that since returning to power, the Islamic Emirate has insisted on its commitment to give Iran’s share of water; But what has been done in practice is far from this commitment.

The water treaty between Afghanistan and Iran was signed in 1973.

According to the Helmand River Treaty of 1973, Afghanistan must deliver water from the Helmand River to Iran at a rate of 22 cubic meters per second per annum with an additional four cubic meters per second for “goodwill and brotherly relations.” This would supply Iran with an annual average of 820 million cubic meters or 556,000 acre-feet under normal conditions.

The final paragraph of the article emphasizes that Iran is only entitled to the specified amount of water agreed upon, irrespective of whether “additional amounts of water may be available” and may “be put to beneficial use.”

Thus, Afghanistan unequivocally has unilateral rights over the remaining water supply of the Helmand River. This means that it has the power to implement agricultural, hydroelectric, and reservoir projects as it sees fit.