Iranian Official: 70% of Illicit Drugs Confiscated along Eastern Borders
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An Iranian anti-narcotics official announced that more than 70 percent of the total drug hauls seized in the country over the past Iranian year have been confiscated along the eastern boundaries, namely the shared borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan.
General Alireza Akbarshahi, a high-ranking official with the presidential office’s anti-narcotics bureau, said on Monday that more than 70 percent of the illicit drugs, seized from March 21, 2013 to March 20, 2014, have been confiscated along the eastern borders.
Speaking to reporters in the southeastern city of Kerman, Akbarshahi also announced that the country’s law enforcement forces have seized 570 tons of different types of narcotics in the past Iranian year, including opium, heroin, morphine, hashish, Crystal, among others.
Opium accounted for more than 70 percent of the seized narcotics, he added.
In recent decades, Iran has been hit by drug-trafficking, mainly because of its 936- kilometer shared border with Afghanistan, which supplies over 90% of the world's opium, the raw ingredient of heroin.
The United Nations has estimated in the past that opium trafficking accounts for up 15 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product, but the figure is expected to rise as international military and development spending declines with the NATO withdrawal at the end of 2014.
Iran is on a major transit route for drugs being smuggled from Afghanistan to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the country's war on drug-traffickers has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police forces over the past 34 years.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Iran is netting eight times more opium and three times more heroin than all other countries in the world combined.