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Iraq parliament calls for urgent action on drop in river flow from Iran

The opening session of New Iraqi Parliament held at the Parliament Building on 3 September 2018 in Baghdad, Iraq. [Haydar Karaalp - Anadolu Agency]
A parliamentary session at the Parliament Building in Baghdad, Iraq on 3 September 2018 [Haydar Karaalp/Anadolu Agency]

Iraq's parliament on Sunday called on the government to take "urgent measures" following Iran's decision to cut off the waters of Sirwan and Lower Zab that flow into the country.

The head of the Parliament's Committee on Agriculture, Water and Marshlands, Salam Al-Shammari, declared in a statement: "Cutting off the waters of the two rivers by Iran will cause serious damage to Iraq."

Al-Shammari continued: "This issue requires swift action to be taken by the government and relevant authorities to ensure Iraq's right to the water of rivers flowing from Iran.

The Sirwan and Lower Zab rivers emanate from Iran and enter Iraq in Sulaymaniyah Governorate, in the northern Kurdistan region of the country.

Last week, the Kurdistan Regional Government declared that Iran had completely cut off the waters of the two rivers for the third year in a row. This has damaged local crops and reduced people's access to the vital resource.

The spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Water Resources, Awni Dhiab, said on Saturday that the move had seriously impacted the water reserves of the Darbandikhan and Dokan dams in the governorate of Sulaymaniyah.

Iraq has been suffering for years from lower than average water levels in its rivers as a result of a lack of rain and Iran's moves against it.

READ: Iraq and wandering maps 

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