TEHRAN, May 22 (MNA) -- The top United Nations anti-drug official has praised Iran for its efforts to stop the flow of drugs from Afghanistan to the West.

During a visit to Tehran on Wednesday, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Antonio Maria Costa said Iran is “holding back a flood of heroin” from Afghanistan, the UNIC office in Tehran reported.


During his visit, Mr. Costa met with Iran’s foreign minister, health minister, and the secretary general of the national drug control headquarters and praised the Iranian government, which he said was making “a massive sacrifice” in its efforts to combat drug smuggling.


“The anti-narcotics police in Iran are among the best in the world,” he said.


According to UNODC estimates, most of the opium going from Afghanistan to the West is smuggled via Iran. This amounts to approximately 2,500 tons of opium crossing Iran’s borders every year. Mr. Costa said the Iranian authorities seized about one-third of that amount.


“Most of the world’s opium is produced in one country (Afghanistan). The more drugs that are seized near production areas, the less drugs will reach Western streets,” he said. “This should be a shared responsibility, not only Iran’s problem.”


Mr. Costa visited a memorial to the more than 3,700 border control officers who have died while defending the country against well-armed drug traffickers. More than 12,000 others have been injured.


“These fallen police officers have given their lives to prevent drugs from poisoning the world, not just Iran,” Mr. Costa noted.


He also visited a drug rehabilitation center and spoke with addicts attempting to shake the habit.


Iran has a major drug problem, but it is taking the right steps to deal with it,” Mr. Costa added.


To stem the flow, the government of Iran has erected over 1,000 kilometers of embankments, canals, trenches, and cement walls along its eastern border, UNODC said.





News Code 33909

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