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Iran to Help Replace Afghan Poppy Fields

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TEHRAN, July 17 (ICANA) – Iran's Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar says Tehran will help Kabul replace poppy cultivation in Afghanistan based on agreements between the two countries.
Sunday, July 17, 2011 2:35:51 PM
Iran to Help Replace Afghan Poppy Fields

“The undertaking of this project will end poppy cultivation in Afghanistan as one of the main producers of narcotics in the world,” Mohammad-Najjar was quoted by Fars News Agency as saying on Saturday.

He said Iran seeks to stop the spread of drug abuse through an initiative that aims to confront, treat, and prevent narcotics consumption in the country.

“To confront drug-trafficking mafia gangs, which mainly enter Iran from neighboring countries, we need the cooperation of regional countries as well as the help of the international community.”

Mohammad-Najjar, who is also the Secretary General of Iran's Counter Narcotics Headquarters, added that Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan have held joint meetings and reached good agreements with regards to the drug problem in the region.

The poppy cultivation and illicit drug trade in Afghanistan has come at a heavy cost to neighboring Iran.

The war on Afghan-originated drugs has claimed the lives of nearly 3,700 Iranian police officers over the past 30 years.

With a 900-kilometer (560-mile) common border with Afghanistan, Iran has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to kingpins in Europe.

The Islamic Republic has spent more than USD 700 millions to seal the borders and prevent the transit of narcotics destined for European, Arab and Central Asian countries.

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