UNITED NATIONS - Thousands of Iranian narcotics agents have been killed and billions of dollars spent in Iran's fight against the opium trade, the country's ambassador to the United Nations said Wednesday.
The ambassador, Mohammad Khazaee, told the UN General Assembly his country needs more international help to combat the narcotics trade which he said was the "main financial source" for militant groups in the region.
"For decades, Iran has been at the forefront of a full scale war against transnational drug mafiosi," Khazaee told an anti-terrorism debate at the UN assembly.
"Thousands of Iran law enforcement officers have lost their lives and billions of dollars have been spent to combat drug traffickers, and to interdict opium shipments."
He gave no other details of the casualties or the drug gangs, but highlighted UN figures which said that in 2009 about 90 percent, more than 6,900 tons, of world opium production came from neighboring Afghanistan.
"Most of this product is trafficked across Iran's borders. We urge the international community to pay more attention to this issue.
"We have shouldered a great burden largely without receiving the minimum assistance from the international community. But we should note that no country can tackle this scourge single-handedly," said the ambassador.