TEHRAN, May 26 (Xinhua) -- A senior member of the Iranian parliament has accused Afghanistan's caretaker Taliban government of blocking the Helmand River's water from reaching Iran.
Hossein-Ali Shahriari, chairman of the Iranian parliament's Health and Treatment Committee and representative of the southeastern city of Zahedan in the legislative body, said images taken by Iranian satellites have shown that the Taliban is storing the river's water behind its dams, such as the Kamal Khan Dam, when Iran's southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan province bordering Afghanistan was hit by drought, Iran's official news agency IRNA reported on Friday.
He urged the Taliban to respect Iran's water rights from the Helmand River under a 1973 treaty between the two countries, which entitles Iran to receive 820 million cubic meters of water from the river per year.
He added that in addition to the dams built along the Helmand River in the past, the Taliban has constructed new ones to "prevent the river's water from running into Iran."
The Iranian Space Agency spokesman said last week satellite photos showed that the Taliban have altered the river's route in order to prevent it from reaching Iran.
In response to Iranian officials' calls for the country's share of the river's water, the Taliban government said in a statement last week that Iran's frequent requests for water and "inappropriate" comments on media are "harmful," adding it is committed to the 1973 treaty.
The Helmand River originates in the Hindu Kush Mountains near Afghanistan's capital Kabul and runs more than 1,100 kilometers south before flowing into Hamoun wetlands in Iran's southeastern Sistan and Baluchestan province, which Iran says is hit by drought. ■