Iran Fights Drug Smuggling at Borders – NYTimes.com

Stranger than fiction, foreign policy edition, a lesson in how states have common interests no matter how much you think they disagree:

Squeezed between a tall plainclothes officer and General Moayedi’s personal bodyguard, Antonino de Leo, the Italian representative for the United Nations drug office in Tehran, showered the Iranians with praise — “because they really deserve it,” he said.

Mr. De Leo, in mountaineering shoes and backpack but remaining true to his stylish Italian background with a white flannel scarf around his neck, is very different from his uniformed Iranian counterparts. But, he said, “I need these people and they need me.”

At the same time that the Iranians were netting eight times more opium and three times more heroin than all the other countries in the world combined, Mr. De Leo said, his office was the smallest in the region and he had to cut back some programs, like drug sniffer dog training, because Western nations had cut back on financing.

“These men are fighting their version of the Colombian war on drugs, but they are not funded with billions of U.S. dollars and are battling against drugs coming from another country,” Mr. De Leo said.

via Iran Fights Drug Smuggling at Borders – NYTimes.com.

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3 thoughts on “Iran Fights Drug Smuggling at Borders – NYTimes.com

  1. It’s odd to me that the international community — and most especially the West — has dumped so much money into Afghanistan (of all places) for drug enforcement efforts that do not seem to be working, yet it is reluctant to give any more funding to the Iranian program that does seem to be effective. Granted Iran is a complicated issue, but it would seem to me that in this particular area, the Iranians actually seem to pride themselves in being transparent — they want to succeed and they want others to see their success and efforts. It sounds crazy, but it actually seems like this could be a worthwhile investment for international funds, and an area where common ground could be found.

    I am also impressed that the attaché for the UN Drug Office in Iran is an Italian who — despite being in Iran — is not afraid to dress as Italians dress and to cooperate with the people he perceives as allies in the fight on drugs. I really think this may be a path that could lead to greater cooperation between the West and Iran by opening a new forum for discussion, negotiation, and, most importantly, agreement and mutual support. At least one thing already seems to be agreed upon by most parties involved in the fight against drugs: “spending more could accomplish more” (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/03/21/uk-drugs-idUKTRE72K58H20110321). Maybe we should be willing to overlook our differences in this case and try to get even more work done….

  2. emilylheath says:

    I agree with the comment above and sometimes wonder if the fancy international organizations we have created really fulfill their purpose. It seems as though the arguments about the efficiency at the UN and other organizations drags on and on, the bureaucracy of state governments leads to endless paperwork, and the work we do all around the world never seems to be enough. Perhaps if we take a step back (or maybe down from our pedestal) we’ll realize that the answers to many of our problems don’t lie in organizations or intricate policies. People are our most valuable asset. People can do incredible things, and, yes, people can and will change the world. Not everyone everywhere is as blessed with means as they are in developing countries. Nevertheless, our job as more advanced states should not be to take on the burden of the developing world’s problems, but to provide them with opportunities to obtain the means to fix those problems themselves.

    I believe that we will be much more effective letting the native people solve their problems their own way than trying to impose our “superior” ideals on them. If we truly work to enable the people in developing nations around the world and give them a cause to fight for, they will be able to accomplish much more than we can with all of our technology and money simply because they know how. Just like the drug fighters in this article are able to accomplish amazing tasks with limited means, this article below shows how much we could help the developing world establish proper health care if we only invested a little, educated their citizens, showed them how to establish proper facilities, then let them take it from there. As the adage goes, we need to teach them how to fish, not just provide them with the fish.
    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/26/what-we-can-learn-from-third-world-health-care/

  3. n8hogan says:

    This article is a good sign among all of the negative news that no matter how different and divided the international community seems to be, there is still hope that we can put our differences aside and agree on some things in order to combat the global problems afflicting the world today. At the World Trade Organization’s annual public forum in Geneva, cooperation still seems possible. Even though “political turbulence is rampant across the globe, the fact that two countries as opposite as Iran and the United States are struggling with the same issue just goes to show that no matter how bad it seems, international cooperation is possible when countries come together to fight against what they know is wrong.

    http://www.voanews.com/content/wto-multilateralism-24sept12/1513762.html

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