Iran Blames US and NATO for Afghan Drug Problem
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Iran has predictably blamed the US and NATO for Afghanistan's drug trafficking problems, which have seen an alleged 40-fold increase in drug production since the US took over the country in 2001. Iran's Deputy Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi said that outside interference in resolving a regional problem is unnecessary, and that only Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan should work together to settle the issue. "The main reason for the considerable increase in narcotics is the presence of foreign forces, specially the US and the NATO and today drug production and trade are done under the control and supervision of the Americans," said Rayeesi. His comments were reported by the Iran-based Fars News Agency, described by CNN and Reuters as a "semi-official news agency with ties to the government," and claimed by the Wall Street Journal to be affiliated with Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Afghanistan is world's biggest opium producer. Over the past five years, its neighbor Iran, a favored transit route for heroin heading to Europe, has contributed more than $50 million per year to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts.