Effective Plans Needed to Curb Drug Trafficking

Effective Plans Needed to Curb Drug TraffickingEffective Plans Needed to Curb Drug Trafficking

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli called the United Nations to promote programs against illicit drugs, which have the potential for curbing drug trafficking.

Speaking at a meeting of Afghanistan's partners and neighboring countries in the Austrian capital Vienna on Monday, Fazli hailed the meeting as a “worthy and admirable move” while the significant growth of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has affected the region and Europe, Tasnim News Agency reported.

He said the Regional Program for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime should transform its “conference-oriented” mechanism to a “functional-operational” one, whose results would become tangible once the program is fully implemented.

The Regional Program for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries covers UNODC support to anti-drug trafficking efforts in Central Asian countries.

Fazli also signed a memorandum of understanding with UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov on Monday to fight the flow of narcotics into Iran from neighboring countries, especially Afghanistan.

The UNODC Country Partnership Program outlines a five-year program between Iran and UNODC under which the country will be provided with $20 million for activities like border control and judicial processes.

  Iran's Unique Role

Fazli also met Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl Leitner where he said Iran's role in curbing illicit drugs is "unique", IRNA reported.

Seizing around 500 tons of drugs per year from dealers on eastern borders, Iran plays an important part in efforts to slow the growth of drug addiction rate worldwide.

The interior minister also expressed Iran's readiness for participation in the first meeting of anti-drug officials of 31 countries located on the Balkan route of drug trafficking to Europe, with money laundering and controlling measures on the agenda.

The Balkan route is a major drug trafficking corridor that traverses Iran (often via Pakistan), Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria across Southeast Europe to the Western European market, with an annual market value of some $20 billion.

Leitner stressed the need for increasing cooperation between Iran and Austria to fight the complex network of drug dealers.

"Every year, half of the heroin shipment headed toward Europe is being seized by Iran," she said.

Iran has spent more than $700 million to seal the borders and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries. Nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers have lost their lives fighting dealers over the past 34 years.