TEHRAN – Iranian Interior Minister Abdorrahman Rahmani Fazli has expressed Tehran’s readiness to help replace Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation farmlands with alternative crops.
Rahmani Fazli, who is also secretary general of the Drug Control Headquarters (DCH), told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of anti-drugs officials of regional countries on Monday that such a scheme however requires not only Afghanistan’s, but also international cooperation.
However a decade of efforts to replace Afghanistan’s poppy cultivation with alternatives has failed because of lack of concrete cooperation, he regretted.
He also noted that while Iran is at the forefront of the campaign against drug smuggling from Afghanistan it is under sanctions for narcotics detection equipment.
Iran has 900 kilometers of common border with Afghanistan and has been used by smugglers as the main conduit for the smuggling of Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.
According to the UNODC World Drug Report 2013, Iran accounted for the highest rate of seizures (80 percent) as well as heroin seizures (30 percent) in the world this year.
Over the past three decades, the country has spent millions of dollars to seal its borders and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab, and Central Asian countries.
The war on drug trade, a lucrative business originating in Afghanistan, has also claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers.