Sunday, October 17, 2004

:: Xinhuanet - Intelligence ministry shoulders anti-drug mission in Iran

:: Xinhuanet - English ::: "Intelligence ministry shoulders anti-drug mission in Iran 2004-10-18 03:04:00
TEHRAN, Oct. 17 (Xinhuanet) -- Iran has decided to introduceintelligence section into the fight against drug trafficking andaddiction, as the country's anti-drug situation has been aggravatedin spite of the government's upgraded efforts, the official IRNAnews agency reported on Sunday.

IRNA quoted Ali Hashemi, Secretary General of Iran's DrugControl Headquarters, as saying that it was decided at a recentsession that the task of confronting drug trafficking andprofessional smuggles is to be entrusted to the IntelligenceMinistry.

"The country has already suffered hugely from belated rise ofthe security and intelligence apparatus to the anti-drug cause,"Hashemi said.

He continued that the intelligence officials had already seized20 tons of narcotic drugs over the past Iranian year (which endedon March 20, 2004).

"Unfortunately, professional drug traffickers, who run the drugmarket and reap its lucrative benefits, do not get their duepunishment," Hashemi said.

Drug addiction and transportation has been a serious socialproblem in Iran, a country sitting in the crossroad linking drugproducing Afghanistan and Pakistan and markets in the Persian Gulfstates, Central Asia, western Europe and other regions. According to official statistics, there are at least 2 milliondrug addicts in Iran. Among them, 1.2 million are hard addicts toassorted narcotics, while 800,000 others use drugs casually. More than 60 percent of the AIDS patients in Iran are injectingdrug junkies.

The country also accounts for 80 percent of the opium and 90percent of the morphine intercepted worldwide, according to theInternational Narcotics Control Board.

The Islamic Republic spends 5 billion US dollars annually onanti-drug programs, and over 3,100 police have lost their lives inconflict with drug smugglers during the past two decades."


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