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Cigarette, drug smuggling on the rise in Iran


TEHRAN, Aug. 27 (Mehr News Agency) -- About six and a half billion cigarettes are smuggled into Iran per year, the managing director of the Iranian Tobacco Company said here on Tuesday.

The smuggled cigarettes are mostly "fake" and under the brand of "Marlboro", Mahmoud Abtahi said.

Photos: Killing the cigarettes, for a change

Being a neighbor of the biggest drug producer in the world, the Islamic Republic has also suffered the greatest financial and human losses in its efforts to fight drug trafficking, Abtahi added.

According to official figures 94 percent of drug seizures in the world occur in Iran.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates most of the opium going from Afghanistan to the West is smuggled via Iran. This amounts to approximately 2,500 tons of opium crossing Iran's borders every year.

Iran is tackling drug trafficking head-on, and about two tons of illicit drugs are seized every day in this great battle.

Great numbers of Iranian border control officers have died while defending their country against well-armed traffickers. They lost their lives to prevent drugs from poisoning the world.

The Tobacco Atlas estimates that tobacco use kills some six million people each year -- more than a third of whom will die from cancer -- and drains U.S. $500 billion annually from global economies.

However, drug production is on the rise in Afghanistan. Unfortunately foreign troops and other responsible authorities have failed to curb drug cultivation in the country. There has been a forty-fold increase in opium cultivation in the neighboring Afghanistan over the past eight years.

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