The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) arrived today in Iran for talks on a range of issues, including the country’s efforts to curb illicit narcotics and to provide HIV prevention, treatment, and care services for injecting drug users.
“I am here to lend support for Iran’s vital strategic role in curbing illicit drugs. I hope the international community will follow suit and support Iranian anti-narcotics measures,” said Executive Director Yury Fedotov.
During the three-day visit, Mr. Fedotov will meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other senior officials, and will also visit areas near the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as a drug rehabilitation centre.
Iran has the world’s highest rate of seizures of opium and heroin, 89 per cent and 41 per cent respectively, according to UNODC’s World Drug Report 2011. The country devotes millions of dollars to counter-narcotics programmes and thousands of police officers are stationed at borders to repel traffickers.
“Iran has put in place one of the world’s strongest counter-narcotics responses. Its counter narcotics efforts, good practices and concerns deserve the acknowledgment of the international community,” Mr. Fedotov said, commending the Government’s efforts to curb drug trafficking.
The Executive Director’s discussions will include Iran’s counter-narcotics efforts, its participation in the forthcoming UNODC Regional Programme for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, as well as its efforts to tackle one of the world’s most serious addiction problems.
Almost 70 per cent of the 22,000 detected HIV cases in Iran are injecting drug users, UNODC noted in a news release. The Government, in partnership with non-governmental partners, is providing effective drug treatment and has developed comprehensive HIV prevention, treatment, and care and support services for injecting drug users.
Mr. Fedotov noted the active role played by Iran in supporting regional initiatives, including in the UNODC-brokered Triangular Initiative, which brings together the ministers for drug control of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.