The former head of Iran’s anti-narcotics organization said the thousands of drug-related executions in Iran had not served as a deterrent against drug abuse.
Speaking to the state-run ROKNA News Agency, Ali Hashemi cited official statistics which showed that 5.5% of Iranians between the ages of 15 to 60 used narcotics.
“In 1980 or 1981, if we confiscated 10 tons of narcotics, we should have now reached one ton. But last year, we confiscated 800 tons. This shows that executions did not in any way serve as a deterrent,” the former Secretary General of the Anti-narcotics Headquarters added.
Hashemi said before amendments were made to Iran’s drug laws in late 2017, 95% of executions in the country were drug related.
Now those distributing more than 50 kilograms of narcotics like opium, 2 kilograms of heroin or 3 kilograms of crystal meth are sentenced to death.
The head of a religious watchdog organization said in late 2019 that since the clerics took power in 1979, 15,000 people have been executed over drug-related crimes. The figures, presented by Jalil Mohebbi, the Secretary of the Headquarters to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, were dismissed by a spokesperson of the Judiciary, Parviz Esmaeili, who said the number was “inaccurate” and “devoid of required precision.”
The Islamic Republic of Iran carries out the greatest number of executions in the world per capita.
In 2015, the deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program, Said Boumedouha, noted that “For years, Iranian authorities have used the death penalty to spread a climate of fear in a misguided effort to combat drug trafficking, yet there is not a shred of evidence to show that this is an effective method of tackling crime.”
Despite the regime’s hard hand in dealing with drug addicts and petty drug traffickers, reports show that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is behind the lucrative drug trade and has been for several years.
Most recently, reports that an IRGC funded terrorist organization was behind a $1.2 billion cargo of drugs in Italy made headlines.
A source in the Guardia di Finanza, the Italian finance police, in Salerno has told Arab News that 15 tons of Captagon amphetamine seized in July in Naples “came from Syria and could be linked to Lebanese group Hezbollah, even though we are still investigating the case.”