Iran to help neighbors clear up landmines

An Iranian Defense Ministry official says the country is ready to help neighboring countries with minesweeping operations by sharing experience with them.

Deputy Defense Minister for Engineering and Passive Defense Brigadier General Hossein Baqeri said on Tuesday due to Iran’s experience in demining “we have already received requests from neighboring countries and Iranian officials are considering them.”

Baqeri added that during the eight-year Iraqi-imposed war, Baathists planted 4.2 million hectares of Iran’s border areas with mines which had been given to them by the Western states.

He added that it is expected that defusing all leftover mines and other explosive devices in Iranian border areas will be finished by the end of the March 20, 2013.

“Clearing minefields will be an effective step in facilitating [the country’s] economic prosperity, including agriculture prosperity and the development of infrastructure, particularly in dam building and the oil industry,” IRNA quoted Baqeri as saying.

Iran’s western provinces were heavily infested by Iraqi landmines during the 1980swar between the two countries.

Globally, an estimated 800 people die each month and 1,200 people sustain nonfatal injuries due to mine explosions.

UN data reveals that about 70 countries are affected by landmines or explosive remnants of war.

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