The drug combat squads of Iran’s Law Enforcement Police have seized more than 1,000 kilograms of illicit drugs in two separate operations in the Southeastern Sistan and Balouchestan province, a provincial police commander announced.
“We seized 1,089 kilograms of narcotics from a vehicle belonging to drug traffickers on Khash-Zahedan road in the province,” Sistan and Balouchestan Police Chief Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi told reporters on Thursday.
“Our forces attempted to stop the drug traffickers, but they opened fire and fled away in the dark while leaving behind their vehicle,” the General Rahimi added.
Iran lies on a major drug route between Afghanistan and Europe, as well as the Persian Gulf states.
According to official estimates, Iran’s battle against drugs cost the country around $1 billion annually. Strategies pursued by Tehran include digging canals, building barriers and installing barbed wire to seal the country’s borders, specially in the East.
Iran has long complained that the global community, specially the western nations, do not contribute their role in the campaign against drugs, saying that Iran is making lone efforts to block the transit of narcotics from Afghanistan to Europe and the US. Meantime, the Iranian police officials maintain that drug production in Afghanistan has undergone a 40-fold increase since the US-led invasion of the country in 2001.
While Afghanistan produced only 185 tons of opium per year under the Taliban, according to the UN statistics, since the US-led invasion, drug production has surged to 3,400 tons annually. In 2007, the opium trade reached an estimated all-time production high of 8,200 tons.