Islamic Republic of Iran


Mini-Dublin Group Diplomats at the Iran-Afghanistan Border

5 June 2014 - Representatives from 13 countries of the Mini-Dublin Group (MDG), including 7 Ambassadors, visited the Eastern border with Afghanistan at Iran's Khorasan Razavi Province on Sunday, 01 June 2014. The visit was jointly organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Country Office in Iran (UNODC Iran) and the Drug Control Headquarters (DCHQ). Representatives from the diplomatic community were able to see measures taken by the Iranian authorities to counter the massive flow of illicit drugs from Afghanistan, as well as appreciate UNODC's drug demand reduction activities in the city of Mashhad.

At the border town of Tayabad, the group was briefed by senior officials from DCHQ and the Border Police Command on the huge challenges posed by drug trafficking from Afghanistan, and the measures taken by the national authorities in response, including barbed wires fences, moats, canals, ditches, fibre optic and x-ray devices. The huge human losses sustained by Iran in its fight against drug trafficking was also pointed out. Zeinab, a sixteen-year-old girl who was 2 years old when her father, an Anti-Narcotics Police officer, was killed by drug traffickers at the border, spoke of the sorrow yet pride she felt that her father had sacrificed his life to save others.

The MDG delegation listening to Zeinab's story

The group visited Dogharoun Customs, the biggest entry and exit Customs check point with Afghanistan, where 500-700 containers are checked each day together with the entry and exit of thousands of Afghans. One sole X-Ray container scanning machine was in action, which was observed by the group. They also saw the work of the drug-detecting dogs donated by Japan and trained by UNODC. This was followed by a visit to the border, which included the zero border point with Afghanistan, the "Sefid Tappeh" police border post, and the "17 th Shahrivar" check-point.

At Dogharoun Customs: One of the Japan-donated, UNODC-trained drug-detecting dogs and an officer inspecting a vehicle with one of the Japan-donated, UNODC-procured fiberscopes

Opium production in Afghanistan increased from 3,700 tons in 2012 to 5,500 tons in 2013. Iran lies on one of the major transit drug trafficking routes to Europe and the Persian Gulf. Gen. Mohammad Kazem Taghavi, the local Border Police Commander, said his forces clashed with armed drug smugglers the day before the visit. Both General Ali Moayedi, Iran's Anti-Narcotics Police Chief, and General Taghavi stressed that "Iran needed more x-ray scanners, new modern equipment as well as international assistance to combat drugs effectively".

"Sefid Tappeh" Police Border Post

Back in Mashhad, the team visited the Hamraz Golestan Institute, where UNODC drug prevention life skills training activities for children vulnerable to drugs were being piloted. The MDG members were briefed on the NGO's work and the assistance provided by UNODC in training staff members from the Hamraz Golestan Social Work Association and other relevant NGOs to pilot life skills training packages in the province.

The MDG delegation following a live group therapy session for vulnerable kids at Hamraz Golestan
The MDG delegation following a live group therapy session for vulnerable kids at Hamraz Golestan

A working dinner was hosted by the Khorasan Razavi Governor General, Mr. Rashidi, who emphasized that peace and stability in Afghanistan is essential to regional security. He underlined the importance of providing employment and reducing poverty as well as international cooperation based on the principles of common and shared responsibility by all countries to address the challenges of drugs. 

 The visit helped the MDG members to see firsthand the challenges Iran faces from being neighbour to the world's leading opium producer, in addition to understanding the devastating spillover effects of drug trafficking. It has also served to emphasize the importance of stronger international cooperation in the area of drug control, which is essential for ensuring peace, security, stability, and sustainable development in the region.