Iran Reiterates Joint Cooperation with the UN to Address the Threat of Drugs
The major threat posed by drugs to Iran and the region and the detrimental impact of drug trafficking and use on peace, security, economic growth, and socio-economic development were the subject of constructive discussions between H.E. the Interior Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mr. Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, and the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/ Chair of the UN Development Group, Helen Clark, with the presence of the UNODC Country Office in Iran.
At the meeting, which was held on 22 October 2013 during Helen Clark's visit to Iran, H.E. the Interior Minister referred to Iran's close cooperation with UNODC Iran, the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and the Neighbouring Countries, and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in the framework of international conventions. He elaborated on Iran's anti-narcotic efforts, pointing out that the Islamic Republic detects 500 tons of drugs on an annual basis and has spent a billion US Dollars on border management to prevent the trafficking of drugs from neighbouring Afghanistan to other parts of the world, including Western markets.
Expressing concern over the rise in opium cultivation and production in Afghanistan in 2013, H.E. Mr. Rahmani Fazli called upon the world states to boost their cooperation with Tehran in the fight against drug trafficking, emphasizing that this bid needs both regional and global cooperation based on the principle of common and shared responsibility. He expressed Iran's readiness to help with alternative development and the crop substitution programme in Afghanistan as a way to counter opium cultivation and as an incentive for the farmers to deviate from poppy cultivation, calling on UN and other international organizations to upgrade the level of relevant assistance in Afghanistan to help rid the Afghan people of the present "menace". Moreover, the Minister referred to the UNODC-sponsored Triangular Initiative, which provides an umbrella for anti-narcotic cooperation between Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as a success story, highlighting satisfaction with the trilateral cooperation and with the work of the Joint Planning Cell established under this initiative. He also welcomed the arrival of the new UNODC Country Representative in Iran, Mr. Leik Boonwaat, and wished him success in his mission.
For her part, the UNDP Administrator praised Iran's cooperation with the UN and UNODC in countering narcotics trafficking in the region, adding that the international community appreciates the Islamic Republic of Iran's efforts in the campaign against drug trafficking. She also hailed Iran's effective and remarkable efforts on drug demand reduction and treatment, as well as HIV control and care, voicing the UN's readiness to introduce Iran's anti-drug experiences to the world and to further engage with Iran on issues of drug demand reduction. In addition, Helen Clark highlighted that Iran has been the first country in the world to include a special thematic area on drug demand reduction, prevention and control under the United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF).
During her 3-day visit, the UNDP Administrator joined the UN family in Iran in their celebration of the UN Day, and visited a number of information stands providing publications, brochures, and other advocacy materials by the Iran-based UN agencies, including UNODC. The commemoration event brought together all UN agencies, their national counterparts, and beneficiaries of various UN programmes.