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



(Last Updated On: May 25, 2023)

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. 

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IEA, Iranian officials hold talks after border clash



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

Following the border clash in Nimroz province on Saturday, officials of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) and Iran have held talks in a bid to reduce tensions.

Two Iranian border guards and one IEA guard were killed after the shooting that happened near a border post in Nimroz.

Tehran and Kabul have said that peace has returned to the area and both sides have pledged to avoid such incidents.

IEA has emphasized that Afghanistan does not want war with any of its neighbors and wants to have friendly relations with Iran.

“The Islamic Emirate believes in talks regarding any issue that happens. So this is a very good option. We want that all the issues that exist or the concerns that we have are addressed through talks,” said Bilal Karimi, IEA’s deputy spokesman.

Iran’s interior minister also downplayed the clash and said that the border gate of the Silk Bridge has been reopened and economic exchanges between the two countries have resumed.

“There was a brief conflict and it was resolved. Negotiations were also held with the Taliban (IEA). Now we have no problem. The border is open and peaceful,” Ahmad Wahidi, Iran’s Minister of Interior, said.

Iran’s military officials also said that such incidents should be prevented.

“The meeting took place. Now we have come to see what the parties should do so that this kind of unfortunate incident does not happen,” Qassem Rezaei, deputy commander of Iran’s national police, said.

The clash happened amid tensions between the two countries over water rights.

Iran has accused the IEA of violating a 1973 treaty by restricting the flow of water from the Helmand river to Iran, an accusation denied by the IEA.

Earlier this month, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi warned the IEA over disregarding Iran’s water rights under the treaty. The IEA rejected Raisi’s perceived threat.

An Iranian cleric criticized Raisi’s remarks.

“Your diplomatic language was not correct. You suggested (to IEA) to take your words seriously and not complain later. Is this a proper statement? What answer did you get? You embarrassed this nation,” Abdulrahman Omarzahi, a religious scholar in Sistan and Baluchistan province of Iran, said.

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Afghanistan weather bureau issues heavy rain and flood warning  



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

The Afghanistan Department of Meteorology issued a warning Monday on the possibility of heavy rain and floods in 19 provinces over the next two days. 

In a warning on their website, they said heavy rains and floods could be expected on Monday and Tuesday in Badakhshan, Nuristan, Kunar, Laghman, Baghlan, Nangarhar, Kabul, Logar, Paktia, Khost, Paktika, Zabul, Ghazni, Maidan Wardak, Bamiyan, Daikundi, Parwan, Panjshir and Kapisa province.

According to the department, the amount of rainfall is predicted to be between 10 and 30 mm.

Last week, the Afghanistan National Disaster Management Authority (ANDMA) reported that over the past month, at least 42 people died and 45 were injured in 13 provinces due to natural disasters.

Shafiullah Rahimi, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a video that during this period, 341 houses were completely or partially destroyed, 19,573 acres of agricultural land were damaged, and 1,354 livestock were lost in these provinces, mostly in flash floods.

According to Rahimi, these incidents took place in the provinces of Kapisa, Maidan Wardak, Takhar, Badakhshan, Ghor, Kandahar, Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Paktia, Khost, Daikundi and Nangarhar.

In addition to this, recent floods caused huge financial losses to residents.

The press office of the governor of Ghor has said that a joint delegation from various government departments visited Taywara and Pasaband districts of the province, to assess the flood damage. 

“Five thousand, eight hundred and ninety-five acres of agricultural land, 105 drinking water wells, and water springs were destroyed in two districts, 74 shops were partially destroyed and some were completely destroyed,” the statement said.

In addition, 32 houses were partially destroyed, along with 201 small water dams, fourteen culvert bases and 559 small water reservoirs and canals.

Ghor’s press office said the team had shared the results of its investigations with the local administration, but no help has yet been received for the flood victims. 

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IEA’s Prime Minister congratulates Erdogan on his victory



(Last Updated On: May 29, 2023)

Prime Minister of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, has extended his heartfelt congratulations to Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on his re-election.

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, won an election runoff Sunday after the strongest challenge to his 20-year rule.

The IEA Prime Minister expressed his sincere hope for increased strength, stability, and dedication to religious service in Turkey under President Erdogan’s leadership.

Akhund also noted the bond of brotherhood and friendship between the people of Afghanistan and Turkey and conveyed his aspirations for continued cooperation and mutual support between the two nations in various fields.

He also said Erdogan’s successful re-election will further strengthen diplomatic ties and shared values between the two countries.

Official results showed Erdogan’s challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu won 47.9% of the votes to Erdogan’s 52.1%, pointing to a deeply divided nation.

The election had been seen as one of the most consequential yet for Turkey, with the opposition believing it had a strong chance of unseating Erdogan and reversing his policies after his popularity was hit by a cost-of-living crisis.

Instead, victory reinforced his image of invincibility, after he had already redrawn domestic, economic, security and foreign policy in the NATO member country of 85 million people.

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