Water Diplomacy Role in Easing Iran-Iraq Hydropolitical Tensions

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Political Geography, Faculty of Geographical Sciences, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Research Institute of Strategic Studies, Tehran, Iran.

3 Assistant Professor, Faculty member of Hakim Sabzevari University, Sabzevar, Iran

4 Assistant Professor, Department of Spatial Planning and Applied science, Duhok University, Iraq


Environmental sustainability and human settlement are tightly intertwined with water. Therefore, water has had a history-maker function throughout the history of ties between human communities and politico-spatial units. Over the past decades, water consumption has increased in parallel with a reduction in the levels of these strategic resources, thereby orientating the hydro politics-based foreign policy of nations, particularly in low-precipitation regions. In this vein, Iraq’s geographical position is such that several seasonal and permanent rivers running in western Iran flow into its western neighbor, providing for water supply security in some eastern regions of that country. Over the past one and a half-decade, drought-stricken Iran has moved to harvest water flowing out across its western borders, which has consequently reduced water inflow into Iraq and stirred up hydropolitical tensions between the two nations. This research aims to identify effective driving forces in transforming hydropolitical tensions to water cooperation between Iran and Iraq. The functional data required for this research has been gathered by the library-survey method (interview and expert forum) to be analyzed with a combined quantitative-qualitative approach and applying structural analysis. The research found that water diplomacy has a strategic role in reducing hydropolitical tensions.


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Volume 18, Issue 68
January 2022
Pages 71-93
  • Receive Date: 17 February 2021
  • Revise Date: 26 February 2022
  • Accept Date: 07 January 2022
  • First Publish Date: 07 January 2022