TEHRAN (FNA)- Minister of Internal Affairs of Azerbaijan Ramil Usubov praised Iran’s anti-narcotics efforts, and stressed that Iran is among the leading countries in the campaign against illicit drugs.
In a meeting with Commander of the Iranian Border Guard Units General Hossein Zolfaqari in Baku, Usubov appreciated Iran’s efforts in combating drug trafficking in the region, and called for bolstering Tehran-Baku cooperation to this end.
Zolfaqari, heading a delegation, arrived in Baku on Monday to hold talks with Azeri officials on security issues.
Zolfaqari is visiting Baku at the official invitation of his Azeri counterpart Lieutenant General Elchin Guliyev.
Iran has recently enhanced efforts to boost political, economic, security and cultural ties and cooperation with the regional and neighboring countries, including the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Iran has always complained about the EU and other international bodies’ lack of serious cooperation with Iran in the campaign against drug trafficking from Afghanistan.
The UNODC Opium Survey 2011 reported that despite increased efforts to combat poppy harvests, rising prices and growing demand boosted cultivation by seven percent in 2010, spreading to new regions of Afghanistan.
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.
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.
Iran spends billions of dollars and has lost thousands of its police troops in the war against traffickers. Owing to its rigid efforts, Iran makes 85 percent of the world’s total opium seizures and has turned into the leading country in drug campaign.
The anti-drug squads of the Iranian Law Enforcement Police have intensified their countrywide campaign against drug-trafficking through staging long-term systematic operations for the last three years.
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