The vast narcotics trade industry in Iran is a subject never talked about in Western media, and the regime ruling the country has been successful in cloaking this phenomenon for the past 37 years. A recent state-run daily in Iran revealed more than 60 tons of narcotics are discovered across the country every month… and the interesting reality is that no one knows the fate of this vast amount of valuable narcotics, and the United Nations Drug Program certainly has no information. What goes unnoticed in Iran is the fact that the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) is behind this major trade industry, making a huge income out to provide for the losses suffered due to international sanctions.
Iran’s state police and IRGC, who supposedly are involved in “discovering” the narcotics, are actually the parties selling these dangerous material on the streets. Considering the fact that this money is not registered in any government budget document, all the income becomes “dirty money resulting from the selling of drugs spent on elections and political matters”, as described by Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli. The state-run IRNA news agency reported on February 23rd, 2015 citing this important member of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet saying narcotics trade in Iran renders a whopping $2.8 billion dollars in liquidity.
There is no need to speculate about the numbers, as Iran’s own state-run newspapers shed the necessary light on this matter. Resalat daily wrote a piece on January 18th about the revenue resulting from narcotics trade in Iran:
“Head of the police’s anti-drugs branch said more than 420 tons of narcotics were discovered from March to December 2015… By March 2016 the 420 tons will most probably reach 600 tons… providing a net value of $4 billion in credit, equal to 134 million barrels of crude oil if sold at the OPEC price of $30 a barrel.”
Why these numbers and this entire issue has never been calculated in the government’s official budget is obvious, yet state-run newspapers have remained silent in this regard. It is crystal clear that Iran’s IRGC, answering only to supreme leader Ali Khamenei, in in charge of this entire dossier.
So why has this issue surfaced out of nowhere in Iran? The answer is quite simple. Iran is running desperately low on financial resources, forcing economists to mention the possibility of taking the narcotics trade – currently monopolized by the state police and IRGC – out of their control. Another dark aspect is unveiled by political prisoners on how state police is involved in selling narcotics to addicted prisoners at skyrocketing prices.
Last year the state public prosecutor in a province west of Iran announced shocking numbers of drug addiction amongst the youth and the educated class.
“58% of the drug addicts in Iran are between the ages of 25 to 34, and 14% between the ages of 15 to 19… 37% of the country’s addicted population are college graduates with high degrees, even PhDs…” the state-run Kurd Press news agency reported on March 10th, 2015.
The narcotics trade not only provides much needed revenue for the IRGC, it also resolves very important security matters. When Iran’s younger generation and college graduates get addicted, they no longer even think about standing up to this regime and demanding change. The IRGC, in charge of protecting the establishment against any and all threats domestically and from abroad, understands very well that an addicted young Iranian is very easily controlled. Therefore, through the narcotics trade the IRGC
a) receives billions in revenue,
b) controls Iran’s potentially restive youth,
c) boasts about fighting against drugs and cleansing the society of drug addicts while also executing hundreds on drug-related charges,
d) and each year receives millions of dollars from the U.N. under the pretext of fighting drugs!
With all these positives, and the international community remaining silent in this regard, one can easily understand the importance of this industry for the Revolutionary Guards, and how this entity has been able to fund all its terrorist, meddling, expansionist and Islamic fundamentalism ambitions across the Middle East and beyond. To make matters even more concerning, the United States and European Union are beginning to lift nuclear-related sanctions from Iran. The UN must stop funding Iran’s bogus anti-narcotics campaign and the international community as a whole must adopt a firm policy vis-à-vis Iran on all matters to rein the IRGC under control. Any shortcomings and failures in this regard will allow the IRGC to continue pursue its very dangerous ambitions.
Follow Ramin on @raminjalali25