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 Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Tehran plans to turn to legal channels to assert its rights to a share of water resources from the Khirmand River, which originates in neighboring Afghanistan, Tasnim reported.

During a visit to the Dogarun border crossing in northeastern Iran, which connects Afghan Herat with Iranian Mashhad, Khatibzadeh noted that Afghanistan still does not adhere to the terms of the 1973 water treaty between the two sides.

He noted that the high commissioners of the two countries have several times discussed ways to ensure Iran's water rights from the Khirmand River, known in Afghanistan as the Helmand River, in the border province of Sistan and Balochistan, but without any significant breakthrough.

Iran and Afghanistan are embroiled in a long-running dispute over water use that is preventing them from realizing the huge potential of bilateral trade ties, Press TV notes.

At the center of the dispute is the Khirmand River, which originates in the Hindu Kush mountains near Kabul and flows south for 126 kilometers before emptying into the Hamun wetlands located in the Iranian province of Sistan and Balochistan.

The two countries signed an agreement on the sharing of water resources of the Khirmand River in 1973, under which Afghanistan committed to supply Iran with an average of 820 million cubic meters of water per year.

Iran has repeatedly criticized Afghanistan for failing to comply with the letter and spirit of the agreement.

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