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Iran Warns of Regional Tension Over Water Resources

Iran Warns of Regional Tension Over Water Resources

Wednesday, 28 February, 2018 - 09:30
Iranian spiritual leader’s adviser for military affairs Yahya Rahim Safavi (Tasnim)
London- Asharq Al Awsat

Iranian spiritual leader’s advisor for military affairs, Yahya Rahim Safavi, warned of regional tensions between Iran and its neighbors over water in the coming years, stressing that his country was not seeking to resort to war.

During a two-day conference entitled, “Water Diplomacy and Hydropolitics Opportunities in West Asia,” Safavi said: “The issue of the scarcity of water resources may lead to … challenges among countries. In Iran, we have common water [resources] with 12 neighboring countries, which can [lead to] both interaction and tensions.”

“We do not want the situation in this area to lead to confrontation and military solutions,” he noted, calling for the activation of diplomacy to reach a joint cooperation between Iran and its neighbors.

Iran has been facing over the last few years an environmental crisis, and Iranian officials are warning of the decline in the country’s water resources and drought in most of the provinces.

“10.2 billion cubic meters of water flow out of Iran, of which more than 7 billion enter Iraq,” Safavi said, underlining the necessity to engage in negotiations with countries such as Iraq and Afghanistan on this issue.

The Iranian military advisor went on to say: “We do not want [this issue] to be dealt with by military and hard power and we should resort to soft power and diplomacy to reach a common engagement.”

In remarks at the conference, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi emphasized the importance of managing the country’s water resources to avoid a deteriorating situation.

He noted that there were currently only nine countries in the region, including Iran, which have not faced a complete drought, warning that by 2025, all countries in the region, including Iran, would be in a state of complete drought.

“The country’s policy is to stop the flow of water from leaving the country. Of course, this is not so our neighbors become thirsty, but as I said, this needs to be managed,” Araghchi said.

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