Drug Decriminalization Ruining Global War on Narcotics: Iran Envoy
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna cautioned that the policy of certain countries to decriminalize and legalize drug use is undermining international anti-narcotics efforts.
“Any approach with the purpose of decriminalizing and legalizing certain types of drugs would undermine international efforts to achieve a drug abuse-free world,” Kazem Gharibabadi said in an address to a special commemorative event of the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNODC).
The event, devoted to the UN International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, was held virtually on Friday. On this occasion, the World Drug Report 2020 was launched, followed by a discussion on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world drug situation, from a regional perspective, co-sponsored by the EU and UNODC.
In his address, Gharibabadi deplored the far-reaching negative impacts of drug abuse on development and stability across the world, calling for closer international cooperation, tangible support, and increased national and regional efforts to overcome the challenge posed by drugs.
“A balanced stance on the basis of the international conventions on drugs must be the guideline and criterion for all national, regional and international arrangements,” the Iranian ambassador added.
He further highlighted the Islamic Republic of Iran’s unflagging battle with drugs despite the illegitimate unilateral sanctions imposed by the US, saying Iran seized more than 950 tons of drugs last year alone.
Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.
Despite high economic and human costs, the Islamic Republic has been actively fighting drug-trafficking over the past decades.
The country has spent more than $700 million on sealing its borders and preventing the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries.
The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past four decades.