Drug Traffickers Find New Ways Into Iran

Drug Traffickers Find New Ways Into Iran Drug Traffickers Find New Ways Into Iran

The commander of Sistan-Baluchestan’s border guard, Raham Bakhsh Habibi, says that drug traffickers are smuggling drugs into Iran “by using a catapult made of special metal fixtures and tire tubes that can toss packages weighing 10 kilograms up to 2 km into Iranian territory.”

The containers are tossed into Iran from Afghanistan and then collected by the traffickers’ associates on the other side of the border.  Some of these packages have been found and seized by the border guards, Habibi said.

Despite a multi-million-dollar project that started a decade ago to build a concrete barrier and deep trenches along Iran’s borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan, Iran has not been able to curb the flow of drugs from the two neighbours into the country.

Drug traffickers also take advantage of what is known as the “wind of 120 days” – a period of intense storms that start in the last month of spring and go through summer -- to evade surveillance systems and cross the border, writes Fatemeh Aman, an expert on the Middle East and South Asia, as reported by

A 2015 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates the worth of heroin and opium trafficked from Afghanistan to western Europe at $28 billion annually. Iran is a major destination for drugs as well as a transit route. Iranian authorities seize about 30% of the estimated 155 tons of heroin and opium entering Iran each year that is largely destined for the western world.

The abundance of drugs has contributed to the addiction problem in Iran. Officials estimate the number of drug addicts at over 1.3 million. According to Parviz Afshar, a spokesman for Iran’s Drug Control Headquarters, 9% of the addicts are women and many drug users have higher education.

 Overdose Deaths

Death through drug overdose and transmission of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS is also on the rise.

Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli says no country in the world is so vulnerable to drugs because of Iran’s proximity “to Afghanistan, a country that annually produces 6,000 tons of illicit drugs and Iran is one of the main transit routes.”

Iran’s decades-old campaign against drug trafficking has resulted in 3,800 deaths of police officers and injury to 12,000 others. Neither the death penalty for traffickers nor concrete barriers has overcome the challenge.

Rahmani Fazli says fighting drug trafficking is not just a fight for Iran and Afghanistan, but a global issue that requires global involvement.