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Regional water tensions in focus as Iran FM visits Turkmenistan

Severely hit by a worsening water crisis in recent years, Iran has been seeking to claim its share of water from reservoirs originating in its neighbors' territory.
A view of Lake Urmia, one of the largest saltwater lakes in the world, which is located in the northwest of Iran, while the drought has affected the entire country and put the lake in danger of drying up again in Urmia, Iran.

TEHRAN — Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian visited Turkmenistan's capital, Ashgabat, on Thursday in an effort to expand economic ties and, more importantly, to resolve rising regional tensions over water. 

According to Iranian state media, Amir-Abdollahian sat down with his counterpart, Rashid Meredov, and President Serdar Berdimuhamedov for meetings that also covered energy, transit, counterterrorism and consular cooperation. 

Turkmenistan has for years been a major supplier of natural gas to Iran, which uses the fuel in remote areas in the northeast, particularly during winters, when the country's own rich supply of gas typically fails to meet the increase in domestic demand. 

In January, the gas supply to Iran was interrupted, reportedly due to disagreement over arrangements in place among Turkmenistan, Iran and Azerbaijan, through which gas from Turkmenistan transits to Iran. Yet, regional tensions over water appeared to have topped the agenda for Amir-Abdollahian's visit.

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