'Political goals behind crack presence in Iran'
There are political and economical goals behind the presence of crack in Iran, commander of the drug squad General Hamid Reza Hossein-Abadi says.
“Iran is the only country in the region to which crack is imported,” Hossein-Abadi told the Fars news agency on Saturday. "It is imported from the eastern borders, especially Afghanistan."
“Political and economical goals play an important role in this …," he went on to say.
According to Hossein-Abadi, crack is twice as dangerous as heroin.
“We discovered nine tons of crack across the country this year," he noted adding “Last year, crack was found in 20 provinces in Iran but this year it is found all over the country."
Crack is a solid, smokable form of cocaine.
According to Iranian police officials, drug production in Afghanistan has had a 40-fold increase since the US led invasion of the country in 2001.
While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium under the Taliban, following the US invasion drug production, according to UN statistics, surged to 3,400 tons and by 2007, when the opium trade reached an all-time production high of 8,200 tons.
Afghan and Western officials blame Washington and its NATO allies for the sudden surge, saying they overlooked the drug problem for more than seven years after the invasion of the country.
“[The US and its allies] didn't want anything to do with either interdiction or eradication," said Thomas Schweich, a former Bush administration ambassador for counternarcotics. "We warned them over and over again: Look at Colombia."
Iran lies on a transit corridor between opium producers in Afghanistan and drug dealers in Europe.
As a lead donor nation to Afghanistan, Iran has annually contributed more than $50 million to Afghan counternarcotics efforts in the past five years.
The United Nations credited Iran with the seizure of 80 percent of the opium netted around the world in 2007.
Sat, 28 Nov 2009 10:26:53 GMT