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Iran in frontline of fight against trafficking of illicit drugs despite little global support: Austrian mission

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The file photo shows illicit drugs confiscated by the Iranian Drug Control Headquarters in the eastern province of Khorasan Razavi.

Iran’s embassy in Austria has slammed little international support, especially from the Western states, for the country’s fight against illicit drug trafficking, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic stands at the forefront of the costly campaign.

The embassy made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, or World Drug Day, which is marked on June 26 every year to strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse.

"Iran is at the forefront of the fight against illicit drug trafficking, which mainly enters Europe, while Iran receives little support for this costly fight," the Iranian mission said in its German tweet.

It added that despite receiving meager help from Western countries, as the main destination of illicit drugs seized by Iran, the Islamic Republic has so far seen about 4,000 of its police officers losing their lives in the anti-drug fight, which costs the country $350 million every year.

Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, is used as a transit route for trafficking of narcotics drugs from Afghanistan to markets in Europe.

For decades, Iran has been fighting a relentless battle against international drug networks, but the war has cost it a lot both in human life and material losses.

For instance, 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.

Iran envoy: Drug fight must be an international campaign, West not doing its part

Earlier on Sunday, Iran’s ambassador to international organizations in Vienna said the fight against drug smuggling must be an international campaign, blaming the Western states for not doing their part in this fight.

In a Sunday speech on the issue of drug trafficking, Kazem Gharibabadi said the fight against smuggling of illicit drugs must be done through international cooperation, however, countries like Iran bear the brunt of this fight and countries that are main destinations of drug smugglers, including the Western states, are not serious enough in this regard.

He noted that Iran’s seizure of various kinds of illicit drugs in 2020 showed a 41 percent increase in comparison with the previous year, saying, “This issue, on the one hand, shows the effectiveness of Iran’s anti-drug activities, while on the other hand, sends warning signs of unprecedented rise in illicit drug [trafficking] across the region.”

Iran's envoy said exchange of information, providing financial support, avoiding moves that undermine the anti-drug campaign and relevant international conventions through legalizing certain types of narcotics, and imposing strict border controls are among key issues regarding global cooperation in fighting drug trafficking, which need more serious attention.

Gharibabadi added that imposition of unilateral and illegal sanctions on various countries have adverse effects on those countries' ability to fight illicit drugs, calling for the lifting of such restrictions.

In an address to the United Nations Office On Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in March, the Iranian ambassador had said unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by Western countries, topped by the United States, are hampering the Islamic Republic’s fight against smuggling of illicit drugs.

The Islamic Republic of Iran’s fight against drugs is a real campaign based on lofty moral and human values, Gharibabadi said while expressing regret that concerned international organizations have failed to fulfill their duties in this regard as a result of their politicized approaches.

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