UNODC Country Programme (2011-2014)
Sub-Programme 1: Illicit Trafficking and Border Management
Under Sub-programme 1, border management, illicit drugs, precursors and Amphetamine-Type-Stimulants (ATS) interdiction capacities are being enhanced through the delivery of value-added technical cooperation. Support is also provided to national authorities to facilitate the implementation of the Triangular Initiative (TI) on counter-narcotics enforcement amongst the Islamic Republics of Afghanistan, Iran, and Pakistan, particularly in the following three areas: establishment of Border Liaison Offices (BLOs), information/intelligence exchange and intelligence-led investigations, and a cross-border communication system. Bilateral, regional and international cooperation is fostered within the framework of existing regional and international initiatives, such as the Global Container Control Programme, Paris Pact Initiative, the UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, and meetings of the Economic Cooperation Organization ( ECO ). Dialogue and exchange with the international anti-narcotics community (e.g. the Mini-Dublin Group and Drug Liaison Officers) is also being promoted.
Major Achievements of Sub-Programme 1 (2011- Mid 2014):
- UNODC Iran supported the establishment of the Customs Administration drug dog contingent programme in 2012, and has continued its technical support to the Anti-Narcotics Police (ANP) drug-detecting dog training centre, ongoing since 1999. Since the implementation of Sub-programme 1 started in 2011, UNODC has procured 36 drug-detecting dogs (18 for ANP, 10 for Customs, and 8 for the Prisons Organization) and provided specialized training for handlers, in addition to search kits, 60 drug and precursor test kits, and 11 special vehicles for the transportation of dogs, which are used to facilitate the operation of drug-detecting dog units across the country, particularly at the Eastern borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. Supply of drug detecting dogs to the ANP and Customs Administration is expected to increase the seizures of illicit drugs. Several tons of different types of drugs are seized by the Iranian law enforcement authorities on an annual basis thanks to detection dogs.
- UNODC Iran procured 5 sets of fiberscopes (usual search kits), which are used to inspect cavities and hard-access areas where hides of narcotics or other contraband substances could be placed. They were handed over to ANP and will enable the latter to inspect suspicious vehicles.UNODC has contributed to the enhancement of the Customs Administration and ANP drug intelligence analysis capacities through the organization of specialized training courses.
- UNODC Iran has engaged four Iranian drug testing laboratories in the International Collaborative Exercise (ICE), which provides them with the opportunity to assess and strengthen their capacity in analyzing the seized drugs.
- With the aim of promoting maritime security, UNODC introduced Iran to the Global Container Control Programme (CCP), a joint programme between UNODC and the World Customs Organization (WCO) to assist countries to establish effective container controls in selected sea ports in order to prevent the exploitation of shipping containers for drug trafficking or other illicit activities. A Container Control Unit (CCU) was established in 2012 in Bandar Abbas, the most important port of the country in terms of the volume of transit containers, with the support of UNODC through providing the necessary office equipment and training personnel on risk assessment and container profiling. Although the operationalization of the unit has been faced with delays due to internal issues, UNODC has continued to promote the CCP at every appropriate opportunity to revamp its implementation in Iran.
- Sub-programme 1 has been working in tandem with the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, reinforcing the latter's overall strategy and contributing to its outcomes through the engagement of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the platforms created and supported under the Regional Programme. In addition to its co-chairmanship of the Regional Programme for 2013/2014, Iran has been actively participating in numerous activities and meetings organized under the Regional Programme, such as: CENCOMM training (Almaty, June 2014), the meetings of the Regional Intelligence Working Group on Precursors (RIWGP) (Tashkent, May 2012; Tehran, August 2013; Ashgabat, January 2014; and Astana, April 2014), the International Meeting of the Ministers/Heads of the Counter-Narcotics Agencies aimed at combating drug trafficking as well as assessing the drug situation in the region, (Dushanbe, November 2013), the Syntactic Drugs and Clandestine Lab Training (Ankara, April 2013), and a regional workshop on Forensics (Almaty, October 2012).
- UNODC Iran facilitated and supported a training by the Iranian ANP for experts from the Ministry of Narcotics Control of Afghanistan on opium survey methodology and other issues related to monitoring and verifying opium poppy eradication. The training included academic and field levels and was held in October 2013. UNODC Iran also supported a Forensic Training for staff members of the Counter Narcotics Police of Afghanistan (CNPA) Lab, held in Tehran in January 2014.
- UNODC has played an instrumental role in promoting regional and sub-regional partnership between the Iranian counter-narcotics authorities and their counterparts in Afghanistan and Pakistan within the framework of the Triangular Initiative (TI). The TI umbrella of cooperation has operationally engaged the three countries in finding field-oriented solutions to the transnational threat posed by the trafficking of Afghan opiates and the diversion and smuggling of associated precursors. TI has three aspects of significance: (1) political value, (2) confidence building, and (3) technical cooperation. The significance of the TI in terms of its political value lies in its ability to engage the three countries with the international donors and other United Nations Member States.
The following key developments have been achieved under the TI with UNODC Iran's support and engagement:
- UNODC Iran has been facilitating regular consultations between the three TI partners during periodic meetings at the expert, Senior Officials, and Ministerial levels. The most recent TI Ministerial Meeting was held in Vienna on 14 March 2014 at the sidelines of the 57 th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, while the last Senior Officials Meeting took place in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August 2013.
- A Joint Planning Cell (JPC) was established in Tehran for information and intelligence sharing and the implementation of joint counter-narcotics operations, and became fully operational by stationing 3 Permanent Liaison Officers (PLOs). A total of 23 simultaneous / joint operations have been planned and conducted by the JPC from 2009 to mid-2014, leading to the seizure of 13,114, tons of different types of drugs and 530 liters of illicit chemical precursors.
- In 2012, JPC and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) started exploring the possibilities of operational collaboration, with UNODC Iran's support.
- Two Border Liaison Offices were established in the Iranian sites of Tayabad and Mirjaveh on the borders with Afghanistan (Islamqala) and Pakistan (Taftan), respectively, and were equipped by UNODC. To date, the Office has also facilitated three operational meetings between Tayabad and Islamqala BLOs.
- UNODC Iran has been actively supporting new initiatives launched under TI, e.g the Maritime Security Initiative (MaRes) and the promotion of alternative livelihood and job creation at the Afghan border provinces with Iran and Pakistan. The Office took part in the organization of the first meeting on Maritime Cooperation under MaReS, which was held on 21 April 2013 in Tehran and brought together senior counter-narcotics enforcement and maritime officials from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The second Maritime Cooperation meeting was held in Kabul on 19 August 2013, with the participation of senior counter-narcotics enforcement officials from the three TI partners. The two events concluded with important recommendations including, inter-alia, the establishment of a Regional Maritime Network among TI members and willing regional states; the appointment of Focal Points by the regional member states; the initiation of an Action Plan; and the establishment of a data bank.
- As a result of a 5-month real-time intelligence-led exchange and cooperation among Iran, the UAE and Pakistan, the Iranian and UAE maritime forces seized 7.3 tons of different types of drugs (heroin, opium, and hashish) in the Persian Gulf waters from 20 to 23 August 2013. The seized cargo was for trafficking to regional states, African and European destinations. A second intelligence-based maritime operation followed in September 2013 and was conducted by the JPC, Oman and UAE marine authorities. It resulted in the destruction of about 1 ton of drugs, the seizure of the vessel, and the arrest of criminal network members in Oman Sea.