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Iran key player in global war on drugs

It is time for the world to engage with Tehran to assist its war on drugs, and to acknowledge Iran as an important player in combating the global illegal drug trade.
An Afghan man works on a poppy field in Jalalabad province April 17, 2014. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy, from which opium and heroin are produced. Despite more than a decade of efforts to wean farmers off the crop, fight corruption and cut links between drugs and the Taliban insurgency, poppy expanded to 209,000 hectares (516,000 acres) in 2013, up 36 percent from the previous year.  REUTERS/ Parwiz (AFGHANISTAN - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY AGRICULTURE ENVIRONMENT) - RTR3LOO5

Shortly after the announcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July, thousands of Iranians took to the streets to celebrate the historic nuclear deal. “[Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad] Zarif, thank you,” cheered ecstatic crowds, holding placards in support of the agreement and President Hassan Rouhani’s government. If duly implemented, the JCPOA will limit Iran’s nuclear program while lifting the international sanctions that have isolated the country from the international community for more than a decade. For the people of Iran, who have tasted the bitterness of sanctions, this agreement is indeed a call for celebration.

Arguments that Iran’s reengagement in both regional and international affairs can positively impact political, security and economic conversations are often heard. Yet no one seems to be talking about Iran’s influence over another global challenge: the fight against the international illicit drug trade.

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