IRAN WILLING TO COOPERATE WITH RUSSIA IN FIGHTING DRUG TRAFFIC

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MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti) - Iran is willing to cooperate with Russia in the fight against drug trafficking, says the Iranian Ambassador to Russia, Gholam-Reza Shafei.

Cooperation between Iran, Russia, the European Union, and the UN could yield tangible results in terms of curbing the production of drugs in Afghanistan and their trafficking to other countries, the Iranian Ambassador pointed out as he met Thursday with Viktor Cherkessov, head of Russia's Federal Service for Drug Trafficking Control.

Shafei remarked that Russo-Iranian cooperation in the field had proved rather fruitful, and stressed the need to develop it further, the Iranian Embassy reports in a press release. Cherkessov, for his part, reiterated Russia's willingness to cooperate with Iran, both at the international and the regional levels.

Shafei and Cherkessov noted a recent upsurge in drug production in Afghanistan. In the Iranian diplomat's view, part of the reason is the U.S.-led Coalition's failure to pay due attention to the problem.

Narcotics are the most important source of finance for Afghanistan-based terrorist groups, so they make every effort to have the output stepped up, Shafei said.

Russia has held negotiations with European countries, the U.S., and international organizations, and is hopeful that drug production in Afghanistan and measures against it will be high on the agenda of the forthcoming G8 summit, Cherkessov said. 0- (kom/sm)

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