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Iran on ‘frontline’ of fight against drug smuggling

Published: Updated:

A top police officer said on Wednesday that Iran was on the “frontline” of the fight against drug trafficking, suffering from high opium production in neighboring Afghanistan.

Iran also urged the international community to help it in tackle the problem by assisting its anti-narcotic agencies.

“Iran is on the frontline in the fight against drugs, and our job is not only to protect Iran but also the integrity of all countries,” deputy police chief Ahmad-Reza Radan said at a Tehran ceremony marking the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Iranian authorities burnt 100 tons of drugs seized by its security forces across the country.

The country has been particularly hard hit by drugs smuggling because of its shared 936 kilometer border with Afghanistan, where 74 percent of the world’s opium was produced in 2012, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Iran is on a major transit route for drugs being smuggled from Afghanistan to Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Its authorities estimate that the country has some two million drug addicts, including 400,000 heroin users, out of a population of more than 75 million.

Radan said security forces seized nearly 500 tons of smuggled drugs from March 2012 until March 2013, and another 115 tons since then.

In recent years, more than 3,700 members of Iranian security forces have been killed and over 12,000 injured in clashes with drug traffickers, mainly from Afghanistan, according to Tehran.

Aladin Borujerdi, chairman of the parliamentary committee on national security and foreign policy, called at Wednesday’s ceremony on “those countries that are the destinations of [smuggled] drugs to make more investments” and “provide the necessary equipment” to Iranian anti-drug forces to combat drug trafficking.

Radan blamed the international sanctions imposed on Tehran for preventing Iran from acquiring equipment and funds to combat drug trafficking.

Iran is under a series of sanctions from the United Nations, the United States and the European Union for its controversial nuclear program, which the world powers say is aimed at making weapons.

Tehran has repeatedly denied the accusations, saying that it is only for peaceful purposes.