Europe must shore up assistance to Iran’s fight on drugs: presidential chief of staff

September 14, 2019 - 19:59

TEHRAN – The Iranian president’s chief of staff has called on Europeans to increase assistance to Iran in fighting drugs to prevent traffic of drugs to their countries, noting in particular that U.S. sanctions have left impacts on Tehran’s budget to fight against narcotics.

“The European states cannot sit still and issue statements to appreciate Iran and say that fighting drugs is Iran’s responsibility; they must certainly help Iran,” Mahmoud Vaezi said, addressing a meeting in Tehran on Saturday.

He said that the Iranian government which could in the past generously help the anti-drugs campaign, has faced a limited budget due to the U.S. sanctions and cannot help the fight against narcotics like the past.

Vaezi warned that if pressure on Iran continues and the Europeans refrain from financial assistance, the country’s anti-narcotics fight would weaken and drugs would be trafficked to European countries and they will be forced to pay multi-fold amounts of money to confront drug traffickers.

The Islamic Republic has been actively fighting drug trades originating from its eastern neighbors in the past four decades, despite its high economic and human costs. The country has spent largely on sealing its borders and preventing the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries.

In relevant remarks earlier this week, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, in a meeting with Head of the State Service on Drug Control of Kyrgyzstan Colonel Oleg Zapolsky, stated that Iran was leading anti-narcotics campaign in the region.

Rahmani Fazli said that Iran had taken extensive measures in fighting narcotics and had continued its fight despite receiving no international aid.

Referring to drug production in Afghanistan, he said in spite of the fact that the U.S. troops are present in Afghanistan, they do not fight against narcotics in that country.

Despite difficulties regarding the Afghanistan sovereignty, the common borders are approximately controlled by Iran, meaning that Afghanistan has no special monitoring on borders, he said.

Rahmani Fazli reiterated that Western countries including Europeans have also provided no aid to Iran.   

Over 800 tons of narcotics are confiscated in Iran annually and the country has valuable experience in fighting illegal drugs, curing addicts, discovering hidden drugs and fighting gangs, he stated.