Iran asks for technical, financial assistance to continue fight against drugs

FNA – Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Gholamhossein Dehqani called on all countries threatened by the danger of drug trafficking to help Iran continue its campaign against narcotics.

“The growing production of illicit drugs and activities of traffickers to transfer them outside the borders is a serious threat to the security of Iran and other countries,” Dehqani said in a meeting with Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Yuri Fedotov in Moscow on Tuesday.

“All countries which have used Iran’s efforts to prevent transfer of drugs to their lands are required to provide Iran with technical and financial aid,” he added.

Fedotov, for his part, underscored the UN’s willingness to further develop cooperation with Iran in the fight against drug trafficking, and said, “We intend to strengthen the UNODC’s office in Tehran by sending new work force there.”

In relevant remarks in March, Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli warned of the large amount of narcotics produced in Afghanistan, describing it as a threat to the entire world.

“Production of over 9,000 tons of drugs in Afghanistan is a serious alarm and warning to the international community and the world states are required to act upon their duties based on the principles of common responsibility,” Rahmani Fazli said in a meeting with Fedotov in Vienna.

He added that increased production of drugs in Afghanistan means more damage to the regional states and increased transit and trafficking of narcotics to other parts of the world.

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 more than 17 years ago.