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Iran demands aid in its anti-drug war

Source: Press TV

Iran has pleaded to the international community for more attention and support to its costly anti-narcotics efforts amid persisting rise in drug trade in neighboring Afghanistan despite the nine-year presence of US-led forces there.

A massive pile of drugs burns at an anti-drug ceremony in Arak, Iran (June 2010)

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, Iran's UN Envoy Mohammad Khazaee said the Islamic Republic "has been at the forefront of a full scale war against transnational drug Mafiosi."

"Thousands of Iran's law enforcement officers have lost their lives and billions of dollars have been spent to combat drug traffickers, and to interdict opium shipments," said Khazaee in an anti-terrorism debate at the UN assembly.

Afghanistan continues to account for 90 percent of the world's illicit opium and heroin production, the UN drugs monitoring body said in its 2010 report.

"Most of this product is trafficked across Iran's borders. We urge the international community to pay more attention to this issue," Khazaee emphasized.

The failure of US-led and NATO forces in curbing the drug production that bankrolls the militancy in Afghanistan has placed Iran in center stage of the drug war in the region, forcing the country to singlehandedly intensify security measures targeting drug smugglers on its eastern border.

The country has dug huge trenches on its borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan to slow down well-armed drug smugglers, who have so far killed over 3,600 Iranian law enforcement officers in the past two decades.

"We have shouldered a great burden largely without receiving the minimum assistance from the international community. But we should note that no country can tackle this scourge single-handedly," said the ambassador.

The five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (G5+1) have in the past threatened to cut international aide for combating drug smuggling into Tehran should the country refrain from halting its nuclear program.

While Washington and Britain began the Afghan war in 2001 in a declared effort to topple the Taliban regime and bring to justice the culprits of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US, the Taliban continue to function in Afghanistan as a powerful militant force financed by the country's huge drug production and trade.

This is while the invasion of Afghanistan was also justified as part of the West's "war on drugs."

Meanwhile, US, NATO and Afghan leaders have increasingly been calling for negotiations with Taliban leaders in efforts to give them 'power-sharing' opportunities in the country and hoping to curb their attacks on US-led security forces.

... Payvand News - 09/09/10 ... --

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