Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the West must shoulder more responsibility in the campaign against trafficking of illicit drugs and refrain from politicizing the issue.
“The West's failure to prevent the smuggling of narcotics is an important issue but the fight against drugs must not be politicized,” Zarif said in a meeting with Yury Fedotov, the executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in Tehran on Monday.
He added that Iran had paid high economic and human costs in fighting drug trafficking and expressed the Islamic Republic’s readiness to cooperate with UNODC in the war against narcotics.
Iran, which has a 900-kilometer common border with Afghanistan, has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.
Despite high economic and human costs, the Islamic Republic has been actively fighting drug trafficking over the past three decades.
Iran has spent more than USD 700 million to seal the borders and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries. The war on drug trade originating from Afghanistan has claimed the lives of nearly 4,000 Iranian police officers over the past 34 years.
Iran seizes 75% of total world drugs: Fedotov
The UNODC executive director hailed Iran’s leading role in fighting drug trafficking and said some 75 percent of the world's narcotics seizure was taking place in the Islamic Republic.
He added that the UN body was aware of the importance and difficulties of such a campaign.
Iran has always been at the forefront of the anti-narcotics campaign, Fedotov said and called for boosting cooperation with Tehran in this regard.
It is important to help restore stability and security in Afghanistan in order to fight money-laundering and drug-related crimes, he added.
In December 2015, Iran and the UNODC signed an agreement to fight the flow of narcotics into Iran from neighboring countries, mainly Afghanistan.