Islamic Republic of Iran


Mini-Dublin Group Ambassadors, Iran Minister of Interior, and UNODC Iran discuss Revamping Dialogue and Drug Control Cooperation

25 June 2014 - The Ambassadors of the Mini-Dublin Group (MDG) in Tehran and the Minister of Interior and Secretary General of Drug Control Headquarters (DCHQ) of Iran, H.E. Mr. Rahmani Fazli, met to restore trust and open afresh drug control dialogue, through UNODC Iran facilitation. The meeting was a follow-up to the recent visit of members of the MDG to Iran's Eastern border with Afghanistan, where they saw first-hand the measures taken by the Iranian border police and Customs to counter the massive flow of illicit drugs from Afghanistan.

At the meeting, Minister Fazli expressed Iran's readiness for closer drug control cooperation with MDG members, based on the spirit of common and shared responsibility. He stated that the sanction regime on Iran has damaged the drug control campaign while depriving Iran from required equipment and tools to tackle the opiates trafficking. He said that the region is in acute danger of drugs and illicit chemical trafficking, terrorism and extremism, asking for expansion of cooperation on intelligence exchange, control delivery, and anti-money laundering. The Minister also expressed his concern on the high volume of opium production in Afghanistan in 2013 compared to 2012, adding that the international community presence has not proved to be effective in countering the concerning production of opiates in Afghanistan.

On human rights and the issue of capital punishment, the Minister stated that the gangs involved in opiates trafficking are armed and dangerous, and commit a number of crimes against Iranian police and average citizens during their trafficking campaign in the Iranian territories. 

Left to right: Their Excellencies: Ambassador Von Ungern-Sternberg of Germany/MDG Chair; Minister of Interior/DCHQ Secretary General, Mr. Fazli; Director General of DCHQ International Relations Office, Ambassador Mahmoud Bayat, and UNODC Representative, Mr. Leik Boonwaat

The UNODC Representative in Iran, Mr. Leik Boonwaat, welcomed the revamping of cooperation between the MDG members and Iranian counterparts, adding that countering drugs and crime remains as the most important field of cooperation between Iran and the international community. Cooperation between Iran and the international community is of high significance vis-à-vis the challenge posed by the soaring rates of opium cultivation and production in Afghanistan, and its trafficking to third destinations. We will all be progressing from Cooperation to Partnership by designing a new Country Partnership Programme for 2015-2018 through close consultation with the Iranian counterparts and MDG members, he added. 

Mr. Boonwaat then presented an overview of the diverse areas of cooperation under the new Partnership Programme which will include, inter alia,: law enforcement and border management; alternative livelihoods; maritime cooperation; drug demand prevention, treatment and rehabilitation and HIV care, addressing Iran's national priorities in line with the Supreme Leader's General Policies on Health Care; and the Rule of Law and judicial cooperation.

The Ambassador of Germany and Chair of the MDG, H.E. Ambassador Michael Von Ungern-Sternberg, thanked UNODC and DCHQ, on behalf of the Group, for arranging the meeting. He further extended the MDG members' satisfaction and appreciation to Minister Fazli for arranging the earlier visit to the Iran - Afghanistan borders where the group observed closely the work of the Border Police and Customs at Tayabad borders with Afghanistan. He also referred to the visit to a street children centre in Mashhad as an opportunity for the MDG to get to know up-close the work of the UNODC and Iran from different perspective. 

The Ambassador also conveyed to Minister Fazli the desire of the MDG members to get more familiarized with Iran's drug control efforts, especially through arranging visits to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and prison settings. Furthermore, Ambassador Von Ungern-Sternberg stated the international community's concern on the continued application of capital punishment by Iran for drug-related offences.

H.E. Ambassador Luca Giansanti of Italy also thanked Minister Fazli and the UNODC Iran Representative for arranging the meeting and underlined Italy's continued policy of cooperating with Iran and regional states on drug control matters.    

Minister Fazli requested UNODC's support to further familiarize the MDG members with the Iranian drug control efforts and the work of drug prevention, treatment and rehabilitation centers.

The German Ambassador/MDG Chair and the Iranian Interior Minister shake hands on stronger drug control cooperation

The meeting provided a valuable opportunity for the MDG Ambassadors to discuss the drug-related challenges with H.E. Minister Fazli, as well as a number of issues of concern and interest for the members of the Group. Recognizing the huge challenges Iran faces as neighbour to the world's leading opium producer, they underlined international cooperation as the key in this fight, which is in the interest of both Iran and the international community.