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Rouhani warns weakened Iran less able to fight trafficking

AP  |  Tehran 

on Saturday warned Western countries that they will face a massive influx of drugs if becomes weakened by US sanctions.

spoke in at a six-nation conference on fighting terrorism attended by parliament speakers of Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and

In remarks broadcast on state TV, said a weakened would be less able to fight drug trafficking.

"Weakening by sanctions, many will not be safe," he said. "Those who do not believe us, it is good to look at the map."

Iran lies on a major drug route between and and the states. is the world's largest of opium with its being the biggest opium-producing region.

Opium is the raw material for heroin and Afghan farmers harvest about 80 per cent of the world's supply, according to UN reports.

Iran's economy is reeling after the US re-imposed sanctions lifted under Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. withdrew the US from the deal and began restoring sanctions. Rouhani called the US sanctions as "economic terrorism".

Iran pays a heavy price to fight drug trafficking, with a number of border guards killed in fighting drug smugglers every year. Every year, the country burns about 100 tons of seized narcotics as a symbol of its determination.

Iran has also complained about accusations that it violates human rights by executing convicted drug smugglers, who make up 73 per cent of executions in Iran.

In 2013 alone, Iran spent more than USD 26 million to dig canals, erect walls and embankments, create new outposts and set up barbed wire along its 2,000-kilometre border with and Pakistan, according to government statistics.

Until 2016, Iran annually spent some USD 2.5 billion to fight drug trafficking, officials say.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, December 08 2018. 17:55 IST