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Tehran Battles Drugs, Addiction And Crime

An inside report on rising drug addiction and crime in Iran’s capital.
Iranian anti-narcotics policemen demonstrate their weapons skills during a ceremony concluding anti-narcotics maneuvers in Zahedan, 1,605 kilometers (1,003 miles) southeast of Tehran May 20, 2009.  The head of the U.N. crime agency praised Iran during a visit on Wednesday for curbing the flow of smuggled heroin from Afghanistan and helping keep the drug off Western streets. REUTERS/Caren Firouz (IRAN CRIME LAW POLITICS SOCIETY) - RTXKMGD

​​TEHRAN — Just south of Tehran’s sprawling central bazaar lies a poor neighborhood called Davarze Ghar, or the "entrance to the cave," known locally for drugs and stolen goods. Groups of men and veiled women huddle together around an empty reservoir smoking the noxious amphetamine crystal meth or injecting crack, a processed form of heroin unique to the Islamic Republic.

A line of schoolgirls dressed in smart white and pink uniforms with matching plastic Barbie rucksacks are led past the reservoir by their watchful teacher, clad in a long black chador. Police on motorbikes pass by regularly but do not stop.

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