Iran Urges Global Support for Afghan Anti-Drug Fight

Iran Urges Global Support for Afghan Anti-Drug Fight

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Head of Iran’s UN mission called for stronger international support for a joint initiative developed by Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan for curbing illicit drug production and trafficking in Afghanistan.

“The international community should… support the trilateral anti-narcotics initiative among Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, because not only is it necessary for strengthening security and stability in Afghanistan, but also alleviates serious concerns of neighboring states,” Gholam Hossein Dehqani said in an address to a Friday meeting of the UN Security Council on Afghan situation.

Back in November 2010, anti-drug officials from Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to adopt measures to strengthen their cooperation in addressing drug trafficking at the annual meeting of the UNODC-facilitated Triangular Initiative in Islamabad.

Elsewhere in his speech, Dehqani voiced concern about the reports showing a two-fold increase in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan since 2012, calling that a “real threat” to the region and beyond.

Highlighting Iran’s role in reconstruction of war-ridden Afghanistan, Dehqani expressed Tehran’s readiness to cooperate with new Afghan government in “security issues, anti-drug fight, agriculture and settlement of problems of Afghan refugees” living in Iran.

In a recent show of support for Kabul, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on December 9 offered to help neighboring Afghanistan bring about a shift in the cropping pattern in order to reduce poppy cultivation.

The president said Iran is ready to offer Afghanistan the “scientific and research assistance” for changing patterns of agricultural production and wean the Afghan farmers off poppy cultivation to reduce illicit drug production.

The United Nations has estimated in the past that opium trafficking accounts for up to 15 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product.

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.

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