Iran Foreign Ministry Sets Up ‘Water Diplomacy’ Bureau
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a bureau for specialized handling of water disputes and restoring the country’s rights, a spokesperson said.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Monday, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said the water diplomacy bureau was formed a couple of months ago given the significance of water and Iran’s climatic conditions.
The bureau works in cooperation with other Iranian organizations to restore the country’s rights, he added.
Commenting on disputes with Afghanistan over common water resources and the Kabul government’s plans to construct new dams, Qassemi said the two countries launched the first round of negotiations in Tehran last month, noting that the next meeting will be held in Kabul.
Iran and Afghanistan have a disagreement over allocation of water from the Hirmand River, as both sides suffer from droughts and climate change.
In a move in violation of a 1973 treaty with Iran, Afghanistan has refused to supply its neighbor with share of water from Hirmand, which rises in Afghanistan and flows through eastern parts of Iran, according to Iran’s Energy Ministry.
There are also concerns in Iran about Turkey’s plans to construct dams on rivers in the region.
In early July, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized major dam projects by Turkey on the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, demanding that Ankara halt construction of both dams that would be "dangerous" for the entire Middle East.