Over the past 30 years, the poisonous effects of Afghanistan's narcotics industry have steadily transformed Iran's law enforcement and border security institutions, forcing drastic changes in the way Iran deals with what has become a burgeoning transnational narco-insurgency on its southeastern frontier with Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Iran's police chief, Brig. Gen. Ismail Ahmadi Moqaddam, announced last October that Iranian authorities are now using remote security surveillance and control systems from Tehran to help monitor and interdict the massive flow of narcotics streaming over the border from Afghanistan. But despite the country's draconian anti-narcotics laws and aggressive interdiction efforts, Iran remains the primary transit route for Afghan drug smugglers. Approximately 50 percent of Afghanistan's opium output passes through Iran en route to destinations such as Turkey, where morphine base and brown heroin are refined further for intravenous drug-users in Europe.
Last year, Iranian counternarcotics efforts led to 85 percent of the world's total opium seizures, with authorities confiscating an astonishing 1,000 tons of opium entering through the porous 560-mile border with Afghanistan. Despite such measures, Iran's war on drugs is far from successful.