Turkey dismisses Iran Accusations Over Dam-building Activity

Turkey has refuted Iran's claim that the construction of a dam in Turkey is causing sand and dust storms in the region.  Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement that such charges "had no scientific validity."

Some Iranian politicians and the media, according to Bilgic, have blamed Turkey for Iran's environmental problems, notably recent heavy air pollution in Tehran caused by sand and dust storms. However, he claims that Iran is most affected by desert dust from Africa and the Middle East, the two most significant producers of world dust.

Furthermore, climate change-related land degradation, deforestation, desertification, and drought are intensifying such storms, according to Bilgic, who also stated that each country is accountable for the sustainable use of water and land resources.

Turkey, according to Bilgic, views transboundary waterways as an opportunity for cooperation rather than a cause of contention among riparian countries.  "Turkey stands ready to work with Iran on this issue in a rational and scientific manner," he said.

Turkey's upstream dam-building on the Aras River, a shared waterway in the region, is "unacceptable," according to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. He told the Iranian parliament that Tehran was in contact with the Iraqi administration since Turkey's dam-building plans will hurt both countries.

The Iranian minister stated that his country intends to resolve the issue through negotiation with Turkey, and that Ankara has been invited to form a joint water committee to handle the issues.

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