Iran and US cooperate on drug wwar
In the world of foreign relations, there is no such thing as absolute black hats and white hats. In relation to any specific area of co-operation or sanctions, all is dictated by the national agenda of the day, where one’s enemies can also help advance the issue. Such is the complex, multi-faceted relationship between Iran and the US. In both countries the other is demonized as the worst of all possible enemies, but behind the scenes it is not quite as clear cut.
One of the problems that Iran faces is the issue of illegal drugs. Drugs flow over the Afghanistan border into Iran where they are both consumed by the locals and also on-shipped to Europe and the West. This makes Iran the US bedfellows in the fight to clamp down on the drug trade. Iran has internal issues with drug usage, and under the radar has one of the largest needle exchange programs in operation to combat HIV and other disease among users. The US wants to reduce the flow of drugs into its nation, and also would like to stem the flow of funds that the Taliban enjoy from selling Afghanistan’s opium. The result is cooperation in private where in public each rattles their sword at the other. Sanctions or cooperation? It all depends on the issue.
Over the past 30 years, the poisonous effects of Afghanistan’;s narcotics industry have steadily transformed Iran’s law enforcement and border security institutions, forcing drastic changes in the way Iran deals with what has become a burgeoning transnational narco-insurgency on its southeastern frontier with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Iran’s police chief, Brig. Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moqaddam, announced last October that Iranian authorities are now using remote security surveillance and control systems from Tehran to help monitor and interdict the massive flow of narcotics streaming over the border from Afghanistan. But despite the country’s draconian anti-narcotics laws and aggressive interdiction efforts, Iran remains the primary transit route for Afghan drug smugglers. Approximately 50 percent of Afghanistan’s opium output passes through Iran en route to destinations such as Turkey, where morphine base and brown heroin are refined further for intravenous drug-users in Europe