Iraq threatens upstream Iran with international court case over water crisis

Iraq threatens upstream Iran with international court case over water crisis
Iraq has threatened to take Iran to ​international courts after the two countries failed to resolve their dispute over water through negotiations.
2 min read
24 September, 2021
Eastern Iraq's Diyala province has suffered from a severe drought for months [Getty]

Iraq has threatened to take Iran to international courts after negotiations to resolve the water crisis reached a dead end this week.

Mehdi Rashid Al-Hamdani, Iraq's Minister of Water Resources said on Tuesday that his country had failed to reach an agreement with Iran on its water share, adding that the foreign ministry was in the process of internationalising the case.

Al-Hamdani said Iraq has enough to back itself up in international courts.

"We have indications that Iran is digging tunnels and changing the course of waterflow… and we officially informed Iran of its violations but did not receive a response," he told journalists during a briefing in Baghdad.

Iraq gets most of its water from the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Some of the main Tigris tributaries flow through Iran, then Iraq.

Along with regular droughts, Iran's diversion of the flow of the Tigris river's tributaries has led to an alarming decrease in water levels in Iraq.

An Iraqi parliamentarian rang the alarm last month over what they described as a "major disaster" in eastern Iraq's Diyala province because the drought has left swathes of agricultural land left to dry up.

Parts of Iran are also suffering from a water crisis, which led to protests met with deadly repression by the Iranian security forces.

Economist Adel Mukhtar told The New Arab’s sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, warned that a court cases could make it harder to find a resolution to the delicate issue.