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Iranian forces bust intl. drug smuggling cell near southwestern border

The file photo shows Iranian border guards displaying packets of confiscated drugs near the border with Afghanistan.

Iranian forces have disbanded an international drug smuggling cell in southwestern Khuzestan Province, confiscating a large amount of narcotics and arms from the traffickers.

The public relations of Khuzestan Intelligence Office said on Wednesday that several members of the cell were arrested and one of its main elements was killed in armed clashes with Iranian forces.

It added that 130 kilograms of crystalline synthetic drugs as well as a Kalashnikov rifle were seized from the group.

In recent weeks, Iranian forces have busted several arms smuggling gangs in Khuzestan.

Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, is used as a transit route for trafficking of narcotics 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 the loss of many lives and finances.

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.

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

The West is not cooperating with the Islamic Republic in its war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan, but rather hampering the costly battle through sanctions.

Afghanistan’s opium production surged during America’s two-decade-long occupation of the South Asian country.

Iranian officials say unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran by Western countries are hampering the Islamic Republic’s fight against smuggling of illicit drugs.

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