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Jun 26, 6:20 AM EDT

Iran says sanctions slowing fight against drugs

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's interior minister says international sanctions imposed over the country's controversial nuclear program have slowed down its ability to fight drug smuggling.

Iran lies on a major trafficking route between Afghanistan and Europe, as well as the Persian Gulf states. Large drug seizures are common across the region.

The country's official IRNA news agency on Thursday quoted Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli as saying the sanctions have "caused a failure to get electronic equipment" badly needed for the anti-drug campaign.

Fazli says Iran expects more international help. He spoke at a ceremony during which police destroyed about 50 metric tons (55 tons) of seized narcotics.

Tehran has been under sanctions for its nuclear program, which that West suspects is aimed at building nuclear weapons, a charge Iran denies.

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