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Iran Calls for Change in West's Drug-Campaign Policies

  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Secretary-General of Iran's Drug-Campaign Headquarters Mostafa Mohammad Najjar criticized the western countries for their attitude towards the campaign against illicit drugs, and called on the West to show further assistance and cooperation with Iran in this regard.

    "The West should change its attitude towards campaign against drugs and show a serious and practical partnership and cooperation with Iran," Najjar said in a meeting with German Ambassador to Iran Bernd Erbel here in Tehran on Sunday.

    He said Iran has spent huge sums in the campaign against drugs and has also lost over 3,700 of its policemen on this path.

    Najjar also reminded that over 11,000 people have been disabled in the campaign against drugs.

    Iran leads international efforts in fighting drug networks and narcotic traffickers.

    According to the statistical figures released by the UN, Iran ranks first among the world countries in preventing entry of drugs and decreasing demand for narcotics.

    The United Nations credits Iran with the seizure of 85 percent of the opium netted around the world.

    Iran lies on a major drug route between Afghanistan and Europe as well as the Persian Gulf states. Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the Iranian police have lost more than 3700 of their personnel in the country's combat against narcotics.

    Eastern Iran borders Afghanistan, which is the world's number one opium and drug producer. Iran's geographical position has made the country a favorite transit corridor for drug traffickers who intend to smuggle their cargoes from Afghanistan to drug dealers in Europe.

    Each year, the Iranian government spends hundreds of millions of dollars erecting barriers along the borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan and pumping resources into checkpoints.

    The poppy production and drug business in Afghanistan has come at a heavy cost for Iran.

    Over the past five years, it has contributed more than $50 million annually to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts.

    With a 900-kilometer (560-mile) common border with Afghanistan, Iran has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to dealers in Europe.

    The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

    While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.

    Afghan and western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have "overlooked" the drug problem since invading the country 10 years ago.

    Rabi Al-Awwal
    Monday 21 Feb 2011



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