The question is not here that why President Ashraf Ghani received cool reception during his visit to Iran to take part in the oath-taking ceremony of his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, rather it’s that why he should not. He deserves to face cool reception due to his successful foreign policy that puts our neighbors into deep uncertainty.
That’s why he received ambassador-level welcome on his arrival in Tehran. Meanwhile, heads of state from Iraq and Armenia, who also visited Tehran to attend the oath-taking ceremony, were accorded ministerial-level receptions on their arrival. President Ghani was received at the airport by Iranian ambassador to Afghanistan. It is a clear violation to diplomatic norms and protocol, and also a disgusting and shameful act.
Under diplomatic norms and etiquette, a visiting president should be received at the airport by his/her counterpart, in case the host president is busy—his deputies receive the visiting dignitary. We comprehend the improbable approach. We remember when the Iranian president opposed water dam’s construction in Afghanistan. Rouhani expressed concern over water management and irrigation projects initiated by the Afghan government.
Speaking at an international conference on sandstorms and environmental issues, the Iranian president criticized the Afghan government’s dame projects which are part of several economic and development initiatives recently started in the country. “We cannot remain indifferent to the issue (water dams) which is apparently damaging our environment,” Rouhani said. “Construction of several dams in Afghanistan, such as Kajaki, Kamal Khan, Salma and others in the north and south of Afghanistan, affect our Khorasan and Sistan-Baluchistan provinces.” Viewing this, cool reception of our president was not out of expectation.
Undoubtedly, this also shows how our neighboring countries are interfering in our internal affairs to undermine the country’s sovereignty. It is our right as an independent country to have irrigation and power dams as per international conventions in a bid to generate economy and fulfill the needs of the country. Without electricity and agriculture it is hard for a country to reach self-sufficiency. Water is the essential ingredient for all kinds of products made in developed countries. An American financer, Warren Buffett once said, “Price is what you pay, and value is what you get”. Price is set by the market. Value needs to be assessed and determined. This is worth bearing in mind as we consider the value of water—for it is worth far more than what we pay for it.”
No denying to the fact that the world’s population swells, climate change intensifies and water usage by agriculture and industry continues to increase, water demand grows. But justice is best remedy because every fish is not eatable. Suggestion for Iran would be to change its foreign policy, because the National Unity Government (NUG) is committed to build more dams in a bid to lead the country towards development and prosperity. We are not sad because of cool reception as President Ghani already given Iran a hot potato.
Afghanistan Times, August 8, 2017