Iran frees 612 Afghan convicts in ‘humanitarian move’

March 15, 2021 - 19:6

TEHRAN – Iran has released 612 Afghan convicts in a humanitarian move over the past couple of days, Mahmoud Abbasi, deputy minister of justice for human rights, has said.

On Monday, 306 Afghan convicts were transferred to their country, while another 306 were handed over to Afghan authorities last Wednesday, IRNA quoted Abbasi as saying.

Eighteen Iranian convicts in Afghan prisons will be transferred to the country by the next few days, he stated.

He went on to note that over the last three years, more than 2,000 Afghan criminals have been extradited to their home country, and almost as many are ready to be handed over to their country.

With the presence of U.S. forces in Afghanistan during the last two decades, the production and trafficking of narcotics in this country has increased thousands of times, making it the largest producer of narcotics in the world, with the nation and government of Iran and Afghanistan being the first victims, Abbasi lamented.

Eskandar Momeni, the director of headquarters for the fight against narcotics, said on March 8 that despite the difficult conditions caused by the global pandemic, Iran managed to discover 1,200 tons of narcotics in 2020, an increase of 41 percent compared to 2019, showing Iran’s adherence to international obligations.

Iran’s anti-narcotics measures

Iran seized some 1,000 tons of narcotics in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20, 2020), putting the country in first place in the world, Momeni said in July 2020.

After the Islamic Revolution (in 1979), 3,800 were martyred, 12,000 were wounded and disabled in the fight against drug trafficking, Momeni announced.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has praised Iran’s efforts to fight against narcotics trafficking on the occasion of International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

The organization also officially announced that the world’s first place in the discovery of opium, heroin, and morphine belongs to Iran.

According to UNODC, Iran remains one of the major transit routes for drug trafficking from Afghanistan to European countries and has had a leading role at the global level in the drug-control campaigns.

UNODC World Drug Report 2020 estimates that in 2018, 91 percent of world opium, 48 percent of the world morphine, and 26 percent of the world heroin were seized by Iran.

Iran’s drug control efforts led to the seizure of 266 tons of different types of drugs during the period of April-June 2020, a 20 percent increase compared to the same period in 2019.