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Iran’s province to expel refugees if Taliban fails to supply water: MP

A fisherman is seen in this file photo taken from Hirmand, a river that flows into southeastern Iranian region of Sistan from neighboring Afghanistan.

A member of the Iranian parliament says the ruling Taliban group in Afghanistan has been warned that Afghan refugees will be expelled from the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan if the region does not receive the water supply it is entitled to under a water-sahring agreemnet between Iran and Afghanistan.

The announcement was made on Sunday by Mohammad Sargazi, who represents constituencies in Sistan region on the border with Afghanistan.

Sargazi told the semi-official ILNA news agency that Iran has become more serious in its efforts to persuade the Taliban administration in Afghanistan to comply with its obligations under the 1973 Helmand River water treaty.

“Iran’s envoy to Afghanistan was tasked earlier this week to declare to the ruling group in Afghanistan that if they fail to give Sistan’s water rights all (Afghan) nationals in the province will be expelled,” he said.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi has ordered the country’s foreign ministry to urgently pursue the issue of water rights from the Helmand River amid reports suggesting that people in the Sistan region may face acute water shortages in the upcoming months in the absence of water supply from Afghanistan.

Vice President Mohammad Mokhber traveled to the provincial capital of Zahedan earlier this week to follow up on the order.

Mokhber said during the trip that Iran may be forced to launch legal actions in international institutions to recover its rights from Helmand, river, which is known as Hirmand in Iran.

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