Iran Hangs Drug Smuggler

By McCarton Ackerman 12/18/13

The country believes that it has found success with its anti-drug efforts and no longer seeks the aid of outside nations.

The mark of success...if you're Iran.
Photo via Shutterstock

An Iranian man convicted on drug smuggling charges was executed by hanging at a prison in the city of Qazvin. He was reportedly sentenced to death for carrying 500 grams of compressed heroin. Iran’s Judiciary Chief, Ayotallah Sadeq Arnoli Larijani, approved the death sentence in part because the man already had 13 criminal cases related to other drug charges. Trafficking drugs in excess of five kilograms are among the handful of crimes punishable by death in the country; Iranian law also allows the death penalty for a third conviction for drinking alcohol.

With neighboring Afghanistan serving as the world leader of opium trading and smuggling, Iran has spent about $1 billion annually in preventing drugs from entering the country, in addition to giving $50 million per year to Afghan anti-narcotics efforts. Despite only receiving just over $3 million in international aid each year for its own anti-narcotics efforts, Iran seizes eight times more opium and three times more heroin than all other countries in the world combined, according to figures from United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 

Iran’s success with its anti-drug efforts, combined with Afghanistan’s drug trafficking problem, have led to some Iranian leaders declaring they no longer want outside help in tackling the issue. Iran's Deputy Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Rayeesi blamed the US and NATO for Afghanistan’s 40-fold increase in drug production since the US invaded the country in 2001. He believes 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 NATO, and today drug production and trade are done under the control and supervision of the Americans," said Rayeesi.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.