ArmInfo. Turkey did not agree on the construction of dams on the Aras (Arax) River with the other countries of the river basin, Iranian Minister of Energy Ali Akbar Mehrabian told reporters following the 17th meeting of the Armenian-Iranian Intergovernmental Commission as he spoke of the threats posed by the dams Turkey has for recent years been constructing on the Aras River. Iran voiced its protest to Turkey over this, he added.
"We believe the construction of dams on the Aras River and use of its waters by the countries of the basin could have been agreed on with all the countries the river flows through. And unilateral approaches could pose threats to the Aras. We have expressed our concern to Turkey, and numerous meetings with Turkey's relevant agencies have been held. And they assured us they would take necessary steps to dispel our fears," Mr Mehrabian said.
Iran believes all the countries of the basin must cooperate in using the Aras water resources. "We are going to consistently use this approach," the minister said. Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, said yesterday that Turkey's decision to build dams which would harm the Iranian people and negatively affect water flowing into the Islamic Republic is "not acceptable", local news agency IRNA reported.
"Given the environmental conditions prevailing in the region, it is not acceptable for us that our neighbour country, Turkey, takes measures in the field of dam construction which will cause problems for our people in the country and the region," Abdollahian told members of the Iranian Shura Council.
He added that in recent months he had discussed the matter with his Turkish counterpart at least three times and asked him to pay serious attention to the construction of dams on the Aras River.
Abdollahian explained that while there was no bilateral agreement between Iran and Turkey on water cooperation, four months ago, Tehran submitted a request to Ankara to establish a joint bilateral water committee to address concerns in this field.
The Iranian minister's statement came a week after he stressed during a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart on the importance of accelerating bilateral cooperation with Turkey through a "joint water committee" to deal with climate change and water issues.
Over the years, Iran and Turkey have built many dams, reducing Iraq's main sources of water.
Turkey's construction of a dam on the Aras River, which borders Iran, also threatens the water flowing into the Islamic Republic.