Call for International Help in Anti-Drug Fight

Call for International Help in Anti-Drug FightCall for International Help in Anti-Drug Fight

Tehran calls for greater contribution of the international community, especially western states, to its campaign against international drug trafficking.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli made the call in a meeting with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Executive Director Yury Fedotov in New York on Tuesday, IRNA reported.

Fazli said every year Tehran makes tireless efforts to launch large-scale drug smuggling operations and prevent large quantities of narcotics coming from neighboring Afghanistan bound for Europe and the US, which accounts for 40% of global seizures.

However, Fazli said western countries, especially Europeans located on the Balkan route—a major drug trafficking corridor, are not assuming their part in the battle.

"Employing any effective measure to cut the drug traffic via the Balkan route requires active cooperation of countries [located on the route] in various tasks, including establishing delivery control, preventing money laundering, tracking financial resources, identifying major smuggling rings, discovering assets of smugglers and exchanging information on their activities," he said.

The Balkan route traverses Turkey, Greece and Bulgaria across Southeast Europe to the Western European market and beyond, with an annual market value of some $20 billion.

Fazli, who arrived in New York on Monday to attend a special session of UNODC, said the body should place allocation of funds and supply of equipment to members high on its agenda, in addition to finding efficient ways for preventing rehabilitated addicts from using narcotics again.

The first UN special session to address global drug policy in nearly 20 years began from April 19 at the UN Headquarters in New York and will continue until April 21.

Hundreds of government officials, representatives of non-governmental organizations and individuals from civil society have attended the General Assembly for the three-day session on the world drug problem.

  Strategic Partner

Fedotov hailed Iran's significant role in the fight against illicit drugs and described the country as a "strategic partner of the UNODC and the global community."

The UNODC chief asked Tehran to transfer its "valuable experience" of fighting drug trafficking to other countries, especially in the Middle East.

Due to its geographical location, next to Afghanistan, the world's biggest producer of opium, Iran has been turned by smugglers into a major conduit for narcotics trade and trafficking to Europe and beyond.

Seizing around 500 tons of drugs annually from dealers on eastern borders, Iran plays an important part in efforts to slow the growth of drug addiction rate worldwide. Nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers have lost their lives fighting dealers over the past decades.

Iran will host the first meeting of anti-drug officials of 31 countries located on the Balkan route in the near future.