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Journal of Addiction Research

Statement by H.E. Dr. AbdolrezaRahmaniFazli, the Minister of Interior and Secretary General of the Drug Control Headquarters of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the 61st Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

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Statement by H.E. Dr. AbdolrezaRahmaniFazli, the Minister of Interior and Secretary General of the Drug Control Headquarters of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the 61st Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs
March 12, 2018
Vienna, Austria

In the name of God
The Merciful, the Compassionate

H.E. Mr. Yuri Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director
Esteemed delegates,
Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,

At the outset, I wish to congratulate H.E. Ms. ……… for her election as the chairperson of the meeting as well as othermembers of the presiding board and assure you of the Islamic Republic of Iran's full support for the realization of the meeting's objectives. I also wish to thank UNODC Executive Director, H.E. Mr. Yuri Fedotov and his colleagues at the secretariat for organizing this importantmeeting.

Madam chair,
Excellencies,
Esteemed delegates,

As you review the 2017 UNODC report you will realize the fact that opium production in Afghanistanhas had an 87 percent increase compared to 2016 and has hit the unprecedentedfigure of 9000 tons in 2017. Meanwhile, the cultivation, production, consumption and traffic in cannabis drugs is growing at the global level. Moreover, there has been a considerable increase in trade and consumption of Amphetamines and New Psychoactive Substances. In certain regions where heroin use reportedly had a steady trend one can now witness an escalating trend taking shape. Diversion and traffic in precursors has turned into a two-way illicit trade. The drug trade in cyberspace shows a 50 percent increase compared to 2015. The nexus between narcotic drugs with other types of organized crimes such as corruption, money-laundering, human trafficking, extremism, etc. has become more intricate. There has also been a 25 percent increase in the prevalence of drug use among women and still a bit less than one sixth of the population in need of treatment can have access to such services.
On this very basis, the question which arises is that how come in spite of the efforts made and world countries' resolve for combating the global scourge of narcotic drugs as well as the existence of substantive international documents and regulations one is still witnessing escalating figures in relation with opiates' production in Afghanistan? The response to this fundamental question can delineate our roadmap for an effective action against the ominous phenomenon of narcotic drugs. Regretfully, one must admit that besides other functional elements including failure to properly implement the principle of international shared responsibility and particularly the adoption of a selective approach towards international cooperation and the politicization of the topic of drug control, this very issue is alarmingly threatening public health and welfare and has posed a threat to the socio-economic foundations of all countries.

Excellencies,
Esteemed delegates,

The situation in ourregion is more critical from the view of cultivation, production and traffic in opiates as well as the abuse of drugs. The problem of drug cultivation and production still persists despite the efforts made by the government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and as it was mentioned opium production has experienced an unprecedented rise in that country. In such a situation, the neighboring countries in the first place and other countries face an extensive range of drug-related crimes and sustain heavier costs as well as socio-economic losses. The growing trend of production and traffic in narcotic drugs will intensify insecurity, violence and extremism as well as the spread of corruption at the point of origin and the countries along the route in order to gain access to new markets, continued diversion of precursors, changing of routes and eventually the expansion of national and trans-national organized crimes. In parallel with this, the question of narcotic drugs is overshadowed at the global level with certainissues such as legalization of drugs or in some cases general decriminalization of drug-related crimes at the national and regional levels, negligence towards the principle of international shared responsibilityand failure to implement the resolutions related to financial and technical assistance to countries exposed to the negative implications of drug trafficking. Such a trend has seriously challenged the global fight against illicit drugs and has particularly caused the countries of origin, theneighboring states and countries along the route to near their patience threshold.

Madam chair,
The Islamic Republic of Iran is of the view that the global problem of narcotic drugs and the fight against the illicit flow of drugs from Afghanistan in particular is a problem that goes beyond every border and is not limited to one or two particular countries. In other words, this is an obligation in which case all parties must fulfill their responsibilities based on the principle of international shared responsibility. In this regard, the Islamic Republic of Iran considers the Political Declaration and the 2009 Plan of Action, the 2014 joint ministerial statement and the recommendations of the 30th UNGASS meeting in April 2016 as the basis for its actions against the global problem of drugs. Through the adoption of a balanced strategy of demand and supply reduction as well as the promotion of regional and international cooperation and combating money-laundering, the Islamic Republic of Iran seeks to implement its national plans with a focus on a community-based approach. Some of the major actions carried out in 2017 are as follows:
1-    Continued activities for blocking the border and border control as well as the exchange of intelligence aimed at halting the flow of illicit drugs. As a result of these measures, 785 tons of drugs including 24 tons of heroin were seized and close to 1,000 kilos of the said drugs were seized by JPC within the Triangular Initiative and through the sharing of intelligence with Pakistan;
2-    Implementation of comprehensive plans for preventing precursor diversion leading to the seizure of approximately 25,000 liters of Anhydride Acid;
3-    Monitoring and cutting off the financial flows related to drug proceeds including the confiscation of considerable amount of movable and immovable properties;
4-    Amending the Anti-Narcotics Act and incorporating article 45 that limits capital punishment and has annulled life imprisonment. It should be noted that the law has been applied retroactively and as a result those convicts who have been sentenced to death will be sentenced to first degree imprisonment with the exception of serious crimes and life imprisonment is commuted to second degree imprisonment;
5-    Implementation of plans in the field of prevention with 50 percent growthcovering four target groups including families, educational settings, communities and work places. There are 7,516 outpatient clinics operating nationwide providing drug abuse treatment services and approximately 95 percent of the said clinics are run by the private sector and the NGOs in particular.

Madam chair,
Excellencies,
Distinguished delegates,

Allow me to shed light on my country’s stances in dealing with the current drug situation as well as the newly-emerging challenges:
-    The Islamic Republic of Iran supports CND as the main UN policy-making body in relation with drug-related matters as well as the determining role played by INCB;
-    The three international conventions shape the foundation of the international system of drug control even in the case of newly-emerging challenges and these conventions are amongst the inevitable commitments of states;
-    The Political Declaration and the 2009 Plan of Action, the 2014 joint ministerial statement and the recommendations of the 30th UNGASS meeting that was held in 2016 form the basis for world countries’ actions against the global problem of drugs. This subject must not be influenced by marginal matters and political issues in particular that may divert the global community in the course of combating the global scourge of drugs;
-    The implementation of sustainable development plans alongside alternative livelihood in target countries is an indisputable principle and its realization is contingent upon the implementation of UN guidelines concerning alternative development, preventing the flow of drug proceeds into accredited financial institutions throughout the world and participation by the global community based on the principle of shared responsibility;
-    The commensurate cooperation by world countries particularly the countries of destination and relevant regional and international organizations with countries on the frontline within bilateral and multilateral frameworks as well as UNODC regional and country programs free from political considerations is a necessity. In this connection, the strengthening of the Triangular Initiative between the Islamic Republic of Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as the implementation of the UNODC country program in the Islamic Republic of Iran from 2016-2019 is emphasized.

Madam chair,

In conclusion, I wish to underscore the fact that the international documents and frameworks in the field of drug control enjoy adequate comprehensiveness and inclusiveness and on this basis global resolve and further efforts by countries for the effective implementation of the said documents and enhancement of the existing cooperation within the framework of international documents free from marginal, selective or politically-motivated issues are required in order to tackle the global drug problem. Within the framework of the aforementioned stances and based on its successful experiences in all dimensions of drug control, the Islamic Republic of Iran warmly presses the hands of all member states and as always voices its readiness for any cooperation with the aim of eradicating the ominous phenomenon of narcotic drugs.
Thank you for your kind attention.    

 

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