Iran to strengthen control over transit containers
Bandar Abbas Shaheed Rajee port officially joined the UNODC-WCO brokered Container Control Programme in February 2012, following the establishment of a Container Control Unit and training of personnel on profiling high risk containers.
Shaheed Rajee is the country's biggest port, handling more than fifty percent of the country's trade, including incoming, outgoing and transit containers. As a result of its geographic location, it represents a strategic hub for transit containers going to and coming from Afghanistan.
The Container Control Programme (CCP) assists governments to establish specialized units in seaports and dry ports with the aim of improving control over containers carrying illicit cargos such as drugs, precursors, explosives, and counterfeits. The consistent increase in use of containers worldwide makes it extremely important to focus on high risk maritime cargos while facilitating the legitimate flow of trade. For doing so, the best way to stem the illegal traffic is to maximize the efficiency of enforcement in picking out high risk containers for inspection. This goal can be achieved through the establishment of inter-agency container profiling units, which CCP seeks to promote, in seaports and dry ports.
In the framework of its programme of Technical Cooperation on Drugs and Crime in the Islamic Republic of Iran (2011-2014), UNODC and WCO jointly organized a two-week training course for the personnel of the Bandar Abbas Container Control Unit on profiling of containers. During the training, participants were familiarized with various risk indicators related to the trade in containers, and learned how to backtrack and profile suspicious containers using open source data. In addition, the participants were trained on how to identify the high risk conatiner, evaluate the frequency of the risk, look for options to treat the risk, and finally treat the risk with the best possible option using the available resources.
"The Bandar Abbas Container Control Unit will hopefully contribute to increase considerably the drug seizures of Iranian law enforcement" said Mr. Antonino De Leo, UNODC Representative in Iran during the closing ceremony. In 2009, Iranian law enforcement seized around 89% of total opium seized in the world. The Heroin seizure of Iran also stands at a record of 41% of global heroin seizure in 2009.
The regional counter-narcotics cooperation is expected to get enhanced by establishing new profiling units in the region and empowering the existing ones. Capable staffs of experienced units are often used to train the personnel of newborn units. This is an outstanding example of sustainable capacity building in law enforcement cooperation.
The Container Control Programme has operational profiling units in countries such as Cape Verde, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Pakistan, Panama, Senegal, Turkmenistan, and is being expanded to 21 additional countries in four continents. The Iran section of the programme, which falls within the EC-ECO project "Fight against illicit drug trafficking to/from Afghanistan", is financed by the European Commission.