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Iranian, Turkmen Presidents Inaugurate Dam Along Border

12 April 2005 -- Iran and Turkmenistan have inaugurated the Dostluk dam, a dam on a river that forms part of their border.

Iran's President Mohammad Khatami and Turkmenistan's President Saparmurat Niyazov attended the ceremony today.

Speaking at the ceremony, Niyazov said: "Dear excellencies, Turkmenistan is aware of the water shortage in the region. If we take this issue into account, this [Dostluk dam] will fulfill the needs of [the Iranian city of] Mashhad as well as ours. We have already planned to use this water on 25,000 hectares of land, where cotton and wheat will be planted and we are also planning to make an animal field [for pasture] here."

The river -- called Harir by Iran and Tejen by Turkmenistan -- is located in the Germab mountain range, some 80 kilometers south of the Turkmen town of Serahs and 250 kilometers east of the Iranian city of Mashhad.

The dam, constructed mainly by Iranian companies, is 75 meters high and 600 meters long. The two countries shared the construction cost, which exceeded $60 million.

The joint project will provide both countries with irrigated water and reflects growing ties between Turkmenistan and Iran, especially in the energy sector. Turkmenistan already supplies electricity to northeastern Iran.