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Narcotics Police Chief Slams US for Boosting Drug Industry in Afghanistan.

Summary: TEHRAN (FNA)- Secretary General of Iran's Drug Control Headquarters Brigadier General Eskandar Momeni lashed out at the US and the NATO, two main occupiers of Afghanistan, for encouraging and facilitating poppy cultivation and drug production in the poor country.

Speaking this morning at the annual meeting of counter-narcatics police chiefs of the Law Enforcement Force, Momeni said US forces occupying Afghanistan no doubt facilitates the cultivation of illicit narcotics in that country.

The highest rate of drug seizures in the history of Iran and the world belongs to this year [of the local calendar from March 2019 to March 2020], which shows an 18% increase compared to last year, he said.

"We also saw an 80% decrease in the number of casualties among our forces in the fight against illicit drugs," he said, adding that this year, the forces lost three people in the operations against drug traffickers.

Momeni then censured European countries for their passive role in fighting drug trafficking, adding, "These countries not only do not help the Islamic Republic in this regard, but they also hamper our efforts."

He went on to add, "The cultivation of narcotics in Afghanistan is increasing every year, and there is no doubt that US forces and occupiers in Afghanistan are contributing to the drug production process and are working to destabilize the region by any means, including supporting drug production in Afghanistan."

Noting that the majority of the illicit drugs are destined for Europe, Momeni warned that if Iran does not prevent the transit of narcotics across its borders, Europeans have to do it themselves.

On Monday, Commander of Iran's Law Enforcement Police Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari underlined his country's firm stance against narcotics, and stressed that campaign against drug traffickers and distributors stands atop his agenda.

Addressing a nationwide meeting of anti-narcotic police commanders, Brigadier General Ashtari put the volume of narcotic drugs discovered in the past 10 months (from March 21 to Jan. 22) in the country at 700 tons, adding that it shows an 18 percent hike as compared to the last year's corresponding period.

The issue of confronting and fighting against narcotic drugs is the main concern of people and the Leader of the Islamic Revolution, he said, adding, "fighting against drug is the first priority of the Leader in confronting social woes."

Turning to the presence of American forces in the region and considerable 50fold hike for cultivating narcotic drug, Ashtari added, "We should not pin hope on other countries to help us in the field of combating against illicit drugs; rather, the fact that why American forces are not blamed for poppy cultivation should be addressed by the officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the international communities."

He also called on judicial bodies to cooperate with the police forces in the fight against narcotics.

Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the International Organizations Kazzem Qaribabadi said on Friday that the selfless efforts of the Iranian soldiers and law enforcement officers at the borders and inside the country has put the country at the forefront of the fight against drug trafficking.

He said some 814,477 kilograms of various types of narcotics were confiscated in 2019, which included opium (656,258 kg), heroin (17,414 kg), morphine (18,185 kg), cannabis (73,928 kg) and methamphetamine (13,570 kg).

Five Iranian police personnel were also martyred in the clashes with drug traffickers in 2019, Qaribabadi said.

The Iranian envoy deplored some countries that deny Iran's role in the fight against drug trafficking, saying they also refrain from doing their share of responsibility in this regard.

The Islamic Republic has been actively fighting drug trades originating from Afghanistan in the past four decades, despite its high economic and human costs. The country has spent more than hundreds of millions of dollars on sealing its borders and preventing the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries.

The war on drug trade has also claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past four decades.

Iran is in the forefront of the fight against drug trafficking and thousands of Iranian police forces have been so far martyred to protect the world from the danger of drugs.

Iran has lost 3,800 forces during the fight against drug smuggling so far, he noted.

Last month, Maritime guards and police in Iran's Southern province of Bushehr managed to identify and confiscate a sum of 1000 kilograms of opium in two separate operations in the Persian Gulf.

In October, Police Chief of Sistan and Baluchistan province Brigadier General Mohammad Qanbari said that a big consignment was captured after a series of intelligence operations and during a battle between the antinarcotics force and a gang attempting to smuggle the drugs into the country through Saravan border regions.

Four criminals and two vehicles along with a number of different weapons were captured during the operation, the police chief added.

A week before that, Brigadier General Momeni said in a press conference in Zahedan that his country's police forces have confiscated a total of 550 tons of different types of illicit drugs in the past seven months up to October 22, in a bid to further tighten the national campaign against narcotics, adding that it shows a 15% rise in comparison with figures from the last year.

Brigadier General Momeni added that more than 550 tons of illegal drugs have been seized in the country in the first seven months of the current year (March 21-October 22).

The figure indicates a 15% growth in comparison with the corresponding period of last year, he added.

With the efforts of the anti-narcotics police, Iran's share of identifying and busting opium rings has increased by 90%, Momeni said, adding that Iran is responsible for 67% of morphine discoveries in the world.

According to the Head of Iran's Drug Control Headquarters, the rate of drug discoveries has increased by 90% in Sistan and Baluchistan Province compared to the corresponding period last year.

According to reports, in 2018 alone, Iranian forces carried out 1,557 operations against drug traffickers, seizing approximately 807 tons of different types of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The Iranian anti-narcotic police have always staged periodic operations against drug traffickers and dealers, but reports - which among others indicate an improved and systematic dissemination of information - reveal that the world's most forefront and dedicated anti-narcotic force (as UN drug-campaign assessments put it) has embarked on a long-term countrywide plan to crack down on the drug trade since more than a decade ago.

Also, in April, Iranian Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari had described Iran as a pioneering state in campaign against drug trafficking, and said, "We have declared our information and needs to the international organizations and I should say that we have not pinned hope on their aid."

"We do not have hope that the international organizations can seriously confront" the cultivation and production of narcotics in Afghanistan, General Ashtari said.

The Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 50-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.

Afghan and western officials blame Washington and NATO for the change, saying that allies have "overlooked" the drug problem since invading the country 18 years ago.

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Publication:FARS News Agency
Geographic Code:7IRAN
Date:Jan 28, 2020
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