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Iran Fears Tension over Water Shortage, Holds Neighboring Countries Responsible For Crisis | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. (AFP)

London – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani asked neighboring countries to collaborate to address the region’s water shortages and said environmental issues require planning would not be resolved without regional and international cooperation.

Drought in Iran turned into a national security issue, days after Ala’eddin Boroujerdi, head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in the Iranian parliament had issued an order to form a special committee to tackle the problem and warned that the shortage has become a national security threat in the country.

Last week, Boroujerdi, said: “We were forced to launch a special committee to tackle the problem.”

Speaking at the “International Conference on Combating Sand and Dust Storm” held in Tehran on Monday, Rouhani said: “Building dams without studying environmental aspects is damaging for the region.”

“Regional and international organizations should not be indifferent to environmental damages in Iraq and Iran caused by dam construction in neighboring countries.” he continued.

The Iranian president also blamed Turkey, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan for negatively affecting the lives of Iranians by building dams.

Without naming Turkey, Rouhani asked Ankara to halt constructing dams.

“Multiple dams planned by a neighboring country on the two major rivers that flow into Syria and Iraq will have destructive consequences and affect many, including Iran,” he said.

Rouhani also indirectly mentioned Turkey for building 19 dams on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in recent decades, with plans to build three more.

“Building dams without studying environmental aspects is damaging for the region,” he said.

Rouhani’s comments came after deputy energy minister for water and wastewater affairs Rahim Meydani said on Sunday that “some 300 major cities across Iran are on the verge of water tensions,” adding that stable water supply has turned into a formidable challenge in the country.