6 October 2011
Statement by H. E. Mr. Eshagh Al-Habib
Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative
Of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations
On the Agenda Items 107 and 108: Crime Prevention, Criminal Justice
And International Drug Control
Sixty-sixth Session of the United Nations of General Assembly
6 October 2011- New York
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
Ladies & Gentleman,
Since this is the first time I am taking the floor, allow me to congratulate Your Excellency and the other members of the bureau on these
well-deserved appointments and assure you of the highest level of cooperation of my delegation in discharge of your duties.
There is no doubt that abuse and smuggling of drug poses major risks and inflicts heavy losses on the societies, as one of the biggest problems in today’s world, in every economic, social, political and security aspects.
The Islamic Republic of Iran bordering 1800 kilometers with the so-called Gold Crescent countries – including 936 kilometers of common borders with Afghanistan and 909 kilometers with Pakistan – stands wholeheartedly to combating drug abuse and smuggling worldwide.
Moreover, the Islamic Republic of Iran proved its ironclad determination in practice by curtailing illegal transit routes of narcotics from Afghanistan, through sacrificing the noble lives of thousands of its police and law enforcement forces and with the allocation of millions of dollars in this field.
In recent years, domestic instability and lack of social, economic and agricultural infrastructures, as well as poverty in Afghanistan have brought about a spiraling increase in the levels of illegal cultivation, production and trafficking of narcotics in that country.
According to the UNODC statistics, Afghanistan is still the main producer of opiates and major source of drug abuse and trafficking to other parts of the world, by providing more than 80 percent of the world’s opium and heroin.
In the aftermath of the collapse of the Taliban regime and after the establishment of the Afghan legitimate government, the presence of the western coalition forces in that country, not only did not contribute to the eradication of the deep-rooted problems, but also increased the cultivation of opiates in different parts of the country, mainly due to the support by the military groups and war lords.
In the first decade of the 21st century, we have witnessed high purification in drug products and a big jump in Afghan opiates production, from 2 or 3 thousand tons in the early years of the century to around 8200 tons in 2007, 7700 tons in 2008 and 6900 tons in 2009. Unfortunately, the main cause of the aforementioned decline in the latter years’ production was not the willingness or the determination of the Coalition Forces in that regard, but mainly because of drought seen in some areas of Afghanistan, as well as, a shift in the utilization of resources, and allocation of some lands to the cultivation of cannabis.
Additionally, UNODC in its “Threat Assessment Report” released in July 2011 noted that “even if cultivation remains stable or decreased slightly, opium production may increase in Afghanistan in 2011, due to the increase in opium production yield per hectare”.
The traffickers endanger the stability and peace of the eastern borders of Islamic Republic of Iran by their vicious activities, including: large motorized convoys, Norco-camel and mule caravans, motorbike convoys, speed-boats’ shipments, and some individuals by conveying backpacks and also swallowing certain amounts of drugs.
On the national level, the massive and large counter-measures of the Islamic Republic of Iran against such drug consignments and various narcotic- trafficking networks is recognized in the repeated international bodies’ reports, which are, inter-alia, through curtailing such illicit businesses by increasing the risk of the operations for the international smuggling networks. Based on such an approach, the Islamic Republic of Iran has mobilized 30,000 troops of its military and enforcement forces along the joint borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran has also strived to reinforce and re-manage the fortifications, facilities and intelligent control systems in transit and border check-points, in order to prevent the entry of trafficking caravans into the country and annihilate them in case of infiltration into the country.
400 kilometers of embankments along the borders, digging 800 kilometers of deep canals, construction of 90 kilometers of concrete walls and 20 kilometers of barriers, as well as 140 kilometers of barbed wire fencing, are just a few of the controlling and security measures taken by the Islamic Republic of Iran along its eastern borders, which were visited by the Executive Director of UNODC, H.E. Mr. Yuri Fedotov during his trip to Iran in July 2011.
Additionally, in order to better controlling the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan, the following measures have been taken by our forces: establishing inspection check-points for vehicles, passengers and contingents, intelligence operations such as infiltration into smugglers and drug gangs, under-cover operations (UC), reconnaissance of drug depots, surveillance, ambush, tracing and eventually armed clashes with drug smuggling groups and convoys.
All these measures have resulted in confiscation of massive volumes of various types of narcotics and ranked the Islamic Republic of Iran the first in the world by discovering 89 percent of whole worlds’ opium and 32 percent of heroin seizures, aggregate amount of which has reached to the figure of 702 tons in the year 2009.
In the field of regional cooperation, Iran has collaborated with its neighboring countries, as well as ‘Balkan Route’ countries. It is also worth mentioning that, two regional information exchange centers are based in Iran, namely the Anti-Narcotic Police and Drug control Headquarters (DCHQ), which are fully engaged in information sharing and exchange with Drug Liaison Officers (DLOs) of the region and neighboring countries. In this regard, the Islamic Republic of Iran has held eight rounds of International Conference of Drug Liaison Officers, the latest of which was in Tehran in May 2009.
Iran has also expanded its cooperation with ECO members, and contributed to establishing a Drug Combating Unit, now being called DCCU, Within ECO, as well as holding several ‘Workshops’ on drug supply and demand reduction. In this regard Tehran hosted the first meeting of chiefs of anti-narcotics police of the ECO members in the early August 2010.
Moreover, focusing on the need for close cooperation and coordination among Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran regularly convenes meetings and exchanges information with relevant authorities and senior officials of anti-drug forces of Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is, of course, in close cooperation with UNODC. For this purpose, Iran has held the trilateral meetings, now known as Triangular Initiative. Establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs) between joint borders of the countries and inevitability of joint and synchronized operations between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan are among the main elements of this regional structure. The next meeting of Triangular Initiative ministers and senior officials will be held in Tehran in 2012.
As for international cooperation, the Islamic Republic of Iran has signed wide range of various cooperation documents in the field of combating against narcotics, and actively participated in various international meetings and conferences such as CND meetings and Paris Pact round tables.
We have also facilitated the visits of international authorities to Iranian joint borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan, such as UNODC delegates, Paris Pact and Dublin Group representatives. Following all these visits, Iranian measures and efforts in combating against drugs have been widely recognized and persuaded by the international community.
The narcotic drugs originating from Afghanistan is not targeting neighboring countries only, it affects other countries far away from the region as well. Considerable amounts of various types of opiates, including morphine, which have no internal consumption in Iran, are destined for the European countries, although routinely inspected and confiscated by the Iranian anti-narcotic police. Therefore, it should be considered as a shared responsibility that each country has to play its own part in order to tackle this global problem collectively. To that effect, granting financial contribution and technical support to Iran, as the shortest transit route to the western market, is of the great importance.
In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, there is a need to review the regional and international policies and programs in order to overcome short falls and effectively counter with such a global problem -as narcotics.
The Islamic Republic of Iran, once more, emphasizes its strong determination to combat against this significant global problem, and announces its readiness to cooperate with others to resolve decisively such problems of global concern.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.