Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 27
By Fatih Karimov- Trend:
An Iranian border guard was killed during an armed confrontation with drug smugglers in the country's southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan.
The incident took place in the Iran-Pakistan border near the city of Zabol when the armed smugglers were crossing the border, Rohambakhsh Habibi, commander of the province's border guards said, Iran's Fars news agency reported Dec. 27.
Three smugglers also were killed in the firefight, the commander said, adding some 500 kilograms of opium and heroin, as well as weapons and ammunition were seized from the smugglers.
Two of the smugglers were arrested as well during the operation, Habibi added.
Iran is situated on a major drug route between Afghanistan and Europe, as well as the Persian Gulf states. The Islamic Republic shares about 900 kilometers of common border with Afghanistan, over which 74 percent of opium is smuggled.
It was reported that some 490 tons of drugs were seized in the country during the last fiscal year (ended on March 20).
The fight against drugs annually costs Iran about $1 billion, according to the official estimates. The statistics also say there are about two million drug users in Iran.