Crime in Iran

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Crime in Iran is present in various forms, and may include the following offenses: murder, kidnapping, theft, fraud, money laundering, drug trafficking, drug selling, alcohol smuggling, oil smuggling and many other ordinary crimes that criminals commit.

Drug trafficking and money laundering[edit]

Drug trafficking is a major and ongoing problem in Iran. Iran is a key transshipment point for Southwest Asian heroin to Europe. It shares a 975 kilometer common border with Afghanistan-the world's largest opium producer-which provides a short land route for drug transit between Afghanistan and Europe.[1] With 2.8 percent of the population addicted to drugs, Iran has the highest drug addiction rate in the world.[2] 40% of prisoners in Iran have been convicted on drug related charges.[3] According to published figures, Iran has so far lost close to 3,500 police and security officers to the anti-drug campaign that annually costs the country almost $1 billion and inflicts an annual damage of about $8.5 billion on Iran's economy.[4][5] Hundreds of drug smugglers have also been hanged.[6]


The majority of drug users in Iran are addicted to opium. Iran produces almost none of its own opium; the opium is brought into the country from neighbor Afghanistan.[7] In 2006, over 53 percent of the opium produced in Afghanistan left the country through Iran. Several measures have been taken by the Iranian authorities to combat drug trafficking. This includes increasing the number of police forces on the southeastern border of Iran and introducing severe laws and penalties for people found guilty of drug trafficking.

Iran has become a leading figure in combating drug trafficking; so far Iranian authorities have made over 85 percent of the worlds total opium seizures. Between 2009 and 2010, the amount of illicit drugs seized by Iranian police totalled over 340 tons.[8]

Human trafficking[edit]

According to the U.S. Department of State: "Iran is a source, transit, and destination for women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. Iranian women are trafficked internally for the purpose of forced prostitution and for forced marriages to settle debts. Iranian children are trafficked internally and Afghan children are trafficked to Iran for the purpose of forced marriages, commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude as beggars or laborers. According to non-governmental sources, Iranian women and girls are also trafficked to Pakistan, Turkey, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom for commercial sexual exploitation."[9]


Terrorism against the Iranian government has become more common recently.[when?] The People's Mujahedin of Iran (also called MeK or MKO) is a well known Iranian terrorist group.[citation needed] The MeK organized the Hafte Tir bombing, which was the first terrorist act against the government of the Islamic Republic. Seventy-three leading officials were killed in the attack. Another well known Iranian terrorist group is Jundallah. Jundallah has carried several high profile attacks against the Iranian government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). These attacks include the 2005 ambush on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's motorcade in the Sistan Baluchistan Province. They also conducted a larger attack in 2009, when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb at a meeting of the IRGC commanders. Several high-ranking IRGC officials were killed.[10]

The Taliban has also committed terrorist acts against Iran and is regarded as a terrorist organization by the Iranian government.

Alcohol smuggling[edit]

Iran began restricting alcohol production and consumption shortly after the Iranian revolution. Even with this ban, alcohol smuggling is still popular in Iran today. It's reported that over 2.5 million dollars of alcohol is smuggled into Iran every day.[11] Smugglers often have a hard time smuggling alcohol into Iran; border security forces repeatedly clash with smugglers and many die.

Oil smuggling[edit]

Oil smuggling has become more of an issue in Iran. Iranians pay an average price of 9 cents a liter for gasoline while neighboring countries pay more than a dollar per liter which makes oil smuggling a profitable business for smugglers. Every year in Iran, over 1.8 billion liters of refined oil products are smuggled to neighboring countries. These countries include Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Turkey.[12]

According to state owned news network Press TV, Iran currently produces 230 million liters of the four main fuels-gasoline, diesel, kerosene and furnace oil, every day; 40 million liters of this production (17%) is smuggled out of the country daily.[13]


Iran has one of the highest execution rates (second only to China).[14] Adultery and homosexual sex are considered illegal acts under Iranian law and carry the death penalty. Punishment for drug use and trafficking can be severe; anyone convicted of having possession of, using or trafficking in illegal drugs can expect long jail sentences, heavy fines and even the death penalty.[15]

See also[edit]


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