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Cablegate: Paris Pact Roundtable On Iran

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BRUSSELS 004996

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

FOR DEA, CUSTOMS AND NARCOTICS OFFICERS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AF KCRM SNAR IR RS XD EUN USEU BRUSSELS
SUBJECT: PARIS PACT ROUNDTABLE ON IRAN

REF: A) BRUSSELS 04564 B) STATE 280875

1. Summary. The second roundtable convened by the "Paris
Pact" for countries affected by the Afghanistan Opium Economy
was held at the headquarters of the World Customs
Organization in Brussels on October 15. This meeting was a
considerable improvement over the first roundtable on the
Balkans held in September for two reasons: the focus on a
single country rather than a region, and the presence of a
knowledgeable Iranian who contributed greatly to the
discussion. The primary task of the upcoming Consultative
Group meeting in Rome on November 21 must be to decide
whether the level of specificity (or generality) of the
recommendations produced by these first two roundtables meets
the original objectives of the Paris Pact. It is unlikely
that future roundtables will ever produce more specific
recommendations, nor will potential donors use these meetings
to sign up for funding identified assistance gaps. One of the
outcomes of the Iran roundtable was the unprecedented
invitation to send a mission of international experts to Iran
to evaluation its anti-drug efforts and the opportunities for
regional cooperation in combating drug trafficking. The
meeting may also eventually lead to the posting of western
DLO's in Teheran. While not among the original objectives of
the Paris Pact, this is certainly a happy outcome and perhaps
justifies giving the Paris Pact further opportunities to
prove its value. End Summary.

2. The second roundtable convened by the "Paris Pact" for
countries affected by the Afghanistan Opium Economy was held
at the headquarters of the World Customs Organization in
Brussels on October 15. The U.S. delegation to the meeting
included USEU/NAS Frank Kerber, DEA/Brussels James C. Kabel,
and DEA/Istanbul Jim Allen. About 30 persons attended the
five-hour meeting which was again chaired by Bernard Frahi,
Chief of the Partnership in Development Branch, UN Office on
Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna. Delegations included the
European Customs Organization, World Customs Organization
(WCO), the EU Directorate for External Relations, and
national delegations from Iran, Greece, Turkey, France, UK,
Italy, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Ireland.
(Comment. Interpol, which had attended the Balkans Route
Roundtable in October, was absent. Significantly, Europol
has not attended either meeting. End comment.)

Overview of the Problem
-----------------------

3. The meeting began with the UNODC's overview of the
problem: the primary entry and exit routes into and out of
Iran, data on drug seizures, and Iranian efforts to staunch
the drug flows. This was followed by a brief presentation by
the Iranian representative, Police Colonel Mazoud Rezvani,
Drug Liaison Officer (DLO) to Pakistan resident in Islamabad.
Reznavi confirmed the drug routes outlined by the UNODC. He
said the southern sea route through the Gulf States had been
discussed at a recent meeting he had with the Pakistani Coast
Guard. Iranian efforts to staunch the drug flows include
construction of 212 border posts, 205 watch towers, 22
concrete barriers, 290 km of canals, and the forced
evacuation of Iranian villages used by drug traffickers on
the Afghan border. The greatest seizures within Iran have
been opium and hashish. Drug seizures of heroin, morphine,
opium, and hashish have been greater in the first six months
of 2003 than in all of 2002. There are 1.8 million drug
addicts in Iran. Morphine only transits the country, while
opium and heroin are consumed by the population. Harald
Frohlich, head of the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office
(WCO and ZKA), said that seizure reports coming out of Iran
do not give a clear and reliable picture. There is a clear
lack of national and regional coordination and a regional
intelligence strategy. Iran has invested one billion dollars
to control the drug routes through its territory. Customs
departments focus on the legal trade routes, not the illegal
routes used by traffickers. Reznavi countered that the
national drug intelligence unit in Teheran, which brings
together officers from the Ministries of Health, Education,
Interior, Intelligence, the judiciary and police, coordinates
Iranian anti-drug efforts. This anti-narcotics center
maintains regular contact with Turkey, the Gulf States and
Pakistan. Joint training programs with Pakistan have been
sponsored by the UNODC. The UNODC summarized this overview
with the following points:

-- Drug entry routes into Iran from Afghanistan are through
poor and remote areas of the country.
-- Internal checkpoints within Iran are producing seizure
results.
-- A currently minor exit route through Iraq deserves
attention now as instability there could allow this route to
flourish.
-- There are clearly gaps in reporting and coordination.
-- Need for Customs in Iran to distinguish between
legitimate and illegitimate trade.

Review of Multilateral and Bilateral Assistance
--------------------------------------------- --

4. The next agenda item was a review of current multilateral
and bilateral anti-trafficking assistance to Iran. The UNODC
CIRUS Project (Combined Interdiction Unified Strategy) with a
total budget of Euro 8.5 million is one of the largest UNODC
anti-trafficking projects in the region. Most of the funds
are used for equipment, including vehicles, night vision
devices, heavy-duty construction equipment for border
fortifications, narcotics and chemical drug precursor testing
kits, drug detection equipment, and radio communication
equipment, . Smaller bilateral assistance efforts are being
funded by Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the
UK. The EU assistance has been targeting at demand reduction
and institution building. The EU assisted in setting up the
Drug Intelligence Unit in Teheran. Drugs are a high priority
in the EU-Iran cooperation agreement currently being
developed. The UNODC's assessment is that assistance is
needed to control sea traffic to the Gulf States
(particularly the ports of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas), on the
northern Iraq border, and on the borders with Azerbaijan and
Turkmenistan. Reznavi countered that Iranian resources are
primarily directed at staunching the drugs flows into Iran
along the Afghan and Pakistan borders where drug seizures
have been the greatest and not on the exit routes. This
policy is unlikely to change, given limited Iranian resources
for this effort. The UK mentioned its long-term interest in
posting a Customs/DLO (drugs liaison officer) in Teheran.
USDEL agreed that DLO's from donor countries stationed in
Teheran would greatly assist the coordination effort and
produce more reliable intelligence on the drug trafficking
through the country. While not responding to the call for
DLO postings in Teheran, Reznavi responded that Iran,
Pakistan and the Gulf States were meeting December 8-9 in
Islamabad to review anti-drug cooperation and repeatedly
invited the Paris Pact to come to Iran to assess its efforts
first-hand. Delegations welcomed a report on the December
Islamabad meeting.

Next Steps
----------

5. The chair noted that the results of the two roundtables
on the Balkans and Iran would be presented to the Paris Pact
Consultative Group meeting in Rome on November 21. He
invited the delegations to submit suggestions on the agenda
as well as attendees. The next roundtable would be on
western Russia and would be held in Moscow during the first
quarter of 2004. Future roundtables could focus on such
areas as Central Asia, the Caucasus, Pakistan, the Gulf
States, Albania, or Montenegro, Whenever possible, future
roundtables will be held in the region, rather than in
Brussels.

6. Frahi closed the meeting by noting that the purpose of the
Paris Pact was to identify assistance gaps in combating drug
trafficking from Afghanistan to Europe. The two roundtables
held to date had identified gaps, but it was unclear whether
the intended level of specificity was attained. Further,
donors had not been identified to fill the gaps. He appealed
to the delegations to send both experts and policy-makers to
the next roundtable to ensure that both gaps and funding are
addressed.

7. Comment. This meeting was a considerable improvement over
the first roundtable on the Balkans held in September for two
reasons: the focus on a single country rather than a region,
and the presence of a knowledgeable Iranian who contributed
greatly to the discussion. DEA agents on the delegation also
found the meeting interesting and informative since they do
not have a presence in Iran and must rely on third-country
reporting. If nothing else, the Paris Pact provided a
multilateral forum to deal with the Iranians on an issue on
which we agree, but at a politically-charged time in our
bilateral relationship. Perhaps we should suggest future
roundtables be held on other countries who might similarly
feel more comfortable dealing with us in a multilateral
setting. The next roundtable on western Russia in Moscow
gives us the opportunity to field an experienced delegation
for a straightforward discussion with Russian drug policy
makers. The Iran roundtable clearly demonstrates the value
of closer coordination among our like-minded partners in the
Paris Pact before the meetings and better communication and
direction for UNODC, which appears desperate for guidance.

8. The primary task of the upcoming Consultative Group
meeting in Rome must be to decide whether the level of
specificity (or generality) of the recommendations produced
by these first two roundtables meets the original objectives
of the Paris Pact. It is unlikely that future roundtables
will ever produce more specific recommendations, nor will
potential donors use these meetings to sign up for funding
identified assistance gaps. One of the outcomes of the Iran
roundtable was the unprecedented invitation to send a mission
of international experts to Iran to evaluation its anti-drug
efforts and the opportunities for regional cooperation in
combating drug trafficking. This mission may also eventually
lead to the posting of western DLO's in Teheran. While not
among the original objectives of the Paris Pact, this is
certainly a happy outcome and perhaps justifies giving the
Paris Pact further opportunities to prove its value. End
comment.
SCHNABEL

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