0131 GMT January 23, 2020
Zarif, as well as Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, and head of the Department of Environment, Masoumeh Ebtekar, have signed the letter, Press TV wrote.
The region has been experiencing the problem of dust storms since over a decade ago when neighboring Turkey launched its Southeastern Anatolia Project, also known as GAP.
Under the project, Turkey built 22 dams over the parts of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, which run across its territory. The rivers also traverse Iran, Syria, and Iraq.
According to statistics, the project has reduced the water flow in the rivers’ basin by 34 percent, causing 94 percent of Mesopotamia to dry up, thus unleashing sandstorms onto the southwestern Iran province of Khuzestan.
Also contributing to the situation has been domestic mismanagement and inadequacy of water flow from cross-border resources towards the Iranian wetlands. The latter source has caused the country’s border province of Sistan-Baluchestan to also experience particulates.
The task force is expected to enlist the assistance of regional countries towards eradicating the problem.
Zarif, who was addressing a high-level meeting on the issue, said that regional cooperation on the matter stalled in 2011 due to terrorism and militancy, which began engulfing neighboring Iraq and Syria.
The warfare and destruction has contributed to the exacerbation of the problem, he said, but noted that the Islamic Republic will keep up its efforts to rally regional efforts towards addressing it.
Chitchian, meanwhile, urged that neighbors such as Afghanistan acknowledge Iran’s right to shared water resources, and that regional endeavor be invested towards putting a halt to the dam building, which was taking place as part of the GAP.