As the United States and Europe attempt to cripple Iran with more sanctions, Iran is shedding the burden through the booming drug trafficking and smuggling trades. Both industries have been thriving over the past year.
Iran borders Afghanistan and Pakistan, both of which export opium to Iran. With one of the highest opium addiction rates in the world, Iran takes in 700 tons of the crop per year. With its ideal geographical position on the drug route from Afghanistan to Europe, Iran facilitates the trafficking of a further 1,300 tons of opium through to the Caucasus and into Europe.
Iranian officials admit the country is in the midst of a serious drug problem, yet they appear powerless to slow its momentum. There is approximately one ton of narcotics confiscated every day in Iran. Thirty drug traffickers or addicts are arrested every hour. According to Gen. Ali Moayedi, the head of Iran’s anti-narcotics police, over 200,000 people have been detained in relation to trafficking or addiction in the past nine months. In 2012, at least 76 people were executed for drug-related felonies. Iran has the highest rate of opium seizures in the world, accounting for 89 percent of worldwide arrests and confiscations of the substance.