Iran: December 19, 2003



The U.S. Navy seized a 40 foot boat in the Persian Gulf that was carrying 1.7 tons of hashish and a twelve man crew that contained three men with known al Qaeda connections. There had been reports of al Qaeda involvement in the drug trade to fund its operations, but this was the first time known al Qaeda members were caught at it. Iran is a major route for Afghan hashish destined for Middle Eastern and European markets. But because over a million young Iranians are addicts as well, the government has been waging a low level war on the Afghan border with the Afghan drug smuggling gangs. However, Islamic conservatives control the armed forces and police, and it would not be difficult for al Qaeda controlled drug shipments to be allowed through as long as none of it was sold to Iranian addicts. The Iranian Islamic conservatives condemn drug use, but don't mind allowing al Qaeda to use the drug


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