Narcotics, a Silent Threat (8)
The office of Regional Intelligence Liaison Office (RILO) reported that the Iranian Customs has gained the first rank in detecting of narcotics. In fact, the Islamic Republic, with ceaseless efforts, has spent the expense of global peace and security via campaigning against drug smuggling in Afghanistan as the main source of drug cultivation and production in the world.
According to the estimates of the 2015 report of United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the heroin and opium trafficked to Europe amounts to 28 billion dollars annually. Iran is one of the main routes for transit of drugs to Europe. Iranian officials seize nearly 30% of 155 tons of heroin and opium that enter the country. Although the Islamic Republic receives paltry international assistance in this regard, it has had the highest rate of drug detection in the world so that the world organizations have appreciated its endeavors several times.
The members of Dublin group, constituted of ambassadors and chargé d'affaires of 13 countries (Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Romania, Poland and Russia) along with the UNODC managers and staff had paid a visit to the Iranian eastern borders a while ago. During the visit, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Yuri Fedotov, said that over 80% of opium and 40% of heroin and morphine of the world is detected in Iran and Iran has lost many forces in the campaign against drug smuggling. Some of the measures taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran to block the borders include: digging of ditches, building of concrete walls and embankments, usage of electronic equipment and night-vision cameras. The eastern borders of Iran have arduous routes which cannot be blocked completely with construction of walls and so on. According to the recent report of RILO, the Islamic Republic has carried out 288 anti-drug operations successfully till the end of September 2017 which is the highest rank among the customs offices of others countries. The report has evaluated the performance of customs of different countries in campaigning against and detection of types of traditional and industrial drugs, narcotic pills and psychotropic substances. The previous RILO report had also announced Iran as the top campaigner against drug smuggling. However, drug transit is not the only problem. According to the official statistics, there are more than 1,300,000 drug addicts in Iran while the unofficial figure is higher. According to Parvis Afshar, spokesman of Narcotics Headquarters, 9% of these addicts are female and considerable number of them are people with high education. Death toll resulting from drug abuse or infectious diseases such as AIDS has increased.
The increase of crimes related to drug consumption and high number of such prisoners have been very hard and costly for the judicial system of Iran. The Islamic Republic is among a few countries which have ratified the most severe punishments for drug traffickers. These countries include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, United Arab Emirate and Arabia. For instance, in Singapore 17 ounces of marijuana or half an ounce of cocaine or heroin will have death penalty. Iran's interior minister, Abdul Reza Rahmani Fazli, said that in the campaign against drug trafficking 3800 of police personnel have been martyred and 12,000 others have sustained injuries or become invalid in the campaign against drug trafficking. 1020 kilometers of ditches have been constructed on the borders of Afghanistan. 747 kilometers of these borders have been blocked with obstacles and barbed wire and 100 kilometers of the borders have been closed with concrete wall. The borders with Afghanistan are almost blocked and there is no possibility of transferring drugs to Iran with caravan. Brigadier Roham Bakhsh Habibi, commander of Sistan Baluchestan border police, said that, despite these barriers, drug smugglers use other methods and routes. One of the methods is to use a kind of catapult which is able to launch a 10-kilogram box as far as 2 kilometers inside the Iranian territory. Some of these boxes have been seized by border police. Campaign against drugs does not belong to Iran or Afghanistan. This is a global battle and requires global participation. The Islamic Republic emphasizes that the United Nations must ratify laws based on which countries will be able to take steps on campaigning against drugs according to its involvement in this sinister phenomenon.
The United States of America and NATO have occupied Afghanistan since 2001 under the guise of pursuit of two goals. The first was fighting terrorism and the second was campaign against illicit drugs. But, neither terrorism was uprooted nor drug production and trafficking was eliminated. For over 16 years, the US-led NATO has dominated the airports of the country. according to the UN statistics of 2008, opium production in Afghanistan was 200 tons per year while it has reached 9000 tons. The questions are: Is there any consistent behavior in the campaign against drugs in the world? Why should the cost of transiting drugs to Europe and some other countries be paid by the nations which lie on the way of transit?
Iranian parliament speaker, Ali Larijani, said during a conference which was held in Moscow on December 5, 2017, "The NATO member states must fulfill their duties and contributions should be made proportionately with respect to the issue of campaign so that this campaign is pursued seriously. Other countries should also have their share. It is essential to both counter the labs and traffickers seriously and have a substitution for cultivation." Elaborating that Afghanistan has 400 labs for heroin production, Larijani added, "Isn't NATO able to bomb these labs? How come NATO bomb wedding ceremonies in Afghanistan but fails to bomb these labs which have clear identity?"
We shouldn't forget that, according to the UN report, 1/4 of the world population consumes drugs and 200 thousand people die of it every year. This is a silent threat and everybody should feel responsibility against it. Sergei Ivanovich Neverov, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma of Russia, said in the meeting, "We know Iran as one of the pioneers of campaign against drugs and we should benefit effectively from cooperation with Iran."