By The Free Iranian Staff
On October 15th, Nasser Aslani, counter-narcotics deputy to regime president Rouhani, stated that four and a half million Iranians are addicted to drugs.
Speaking at a meeting of drug control officials in Hamedan province, Aslani said: “2.8 million Iranians use drugs regularly, and 1.6 million recreationally.”
These numbers Aslani cited are most certainly understatements. According to other estimates, up to 10 million Iranians are addicts.
According to the regime’s news agency, IRNA, unemployment is the main cause of drug addiction, but in reality, between 45 to 50% of Iranian addicts are working.
In his remarks, Aslani added “a large percentage of robberies and rapes are committed by drug addicts.” “During the first half of this year, 580 tons of narcotics were seized in Iran. 70% of this material was seized in the eastern and south-eastern parts of the country.”
He also outlined some startling predictions for drug usage in Iran over the next six years, foreseeing more young people becoming addicted, an increase in drug taking amongst women and workers, an increase in families separating due to addiction, and a growth in users of multiple drugs simultaneously.
In regard to this, he said “After gun crimes, drugs cause the greatest damages to property and the Iranian economy. The use of mood-enhancers, such as crystal meth (known in Iran as ‘sheesheh’ or glass), has increased 6.2 times over during the first half of this year, and the price of crystal meth per kilo has decreased from $25,000 to between $7,000 and $8,000.
“A massive wave of heroin use began in Iran in 2001, and after that, crack became popular. Over the course of these years, not only has the number of addicts not been reduced, it has also increased.”
Drug addiction increases in Iran despite heavy penalties, such as long prison sentences, and a 14% execution rate for those convicted of drug possession.
Sociologists offer a number of reasons for the increase of drug addiction in Iran, such as the country’s location on the drug trafficking
corridor between Afghanistan and Pakistan to Europe, the widespread fighting in Afghanistan, the tribal governments operating on the borders of Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as the general insecurity, poverty, and unemployment in the three countries. Other explanations that have been offered include the social damages caused by the Khomeiniist regime, and the resulting lack of stability and peace of mind in Iran.
Analysts, both inside and outside Iran, have fingered regime officials, especially the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, as the primary importers of drugs into and out of Iran.