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Effective Anti-Drug Campaign Demands Strong Int’l Action

Effective Anti-Drug Campaign Demands Strong Int’l Action Effective Anti-Drug Campaign Demands Strong Int’l Action

A deputy foreign minister has called on countries to do their fair share in the campaign against international drug trafficking in and from the Middle East largely sourced from Afghanistan, the world’s opium capital.

"Countries that benefit most from the sacrifices made by Iranian security forces in their decades-long battle to curb drug crimes, have refused to support Iran in its fight against the drug lords," Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Gholamhossein Dehqani said in Moscow on Tuesday.

Warning about the consequences of the absence of meaningful foreign help, he said, "Obviously, the efforts of one country alone in the campaign against narcotics and other forms of organized crime will  never produce the desired results. The campaign demands strong international backing and the cooperation of other regional and non-regional stakeholders."

He was speaking in a meeting with Yury Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in Moscow on the sidelines of an international conference on countering illicit arms trafficking in the context of fighting international terrorism.

Drug smuggling serves as one of the main sources of funding for terrorist groups, Dehqani noted, adding, "Iran has been at the forefront of the fight against this sinister phenomenon, which has cost the lives of many  [Iranian troops]."

He called for closer cooperation from UNDOC to help implement an anti-drug initiative jointly adopted by Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, IRNA reported.

Fedotov welcomed Iran's call and reaffirmed his organization's commitment to aid the Iran-led campaign.

  Expanding UNDOC Role

"The United Nations is willing and able to expand cooperation with Iran in the fight against drug trafficking in the region and beyond. For that purpose it wants to expand the role of the UNDOC office in Tehran," the UN official said.

Law enforcement forces in Iran say drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

While Afghanistan produced 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to UN data, since the US-led invasion production of the illicit drug has surged to a whooping 3,400 tons.

Reports indicate that after losing its grip on vast resources and swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria, which it overran in a flash offensive in 2014, the notorious Islamic State terrorist group has also resorted to drug smuggling as an alternative source to fund its terror campaign in and outside the volatile region.  

 

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