Iran: October 31, 2002


:  One thing conservatives and reformers can agree on is the growing drug problem. It is now estimated that there are at least two million addicts among the 63 million Iranians. Some 58 percent of the addicts are 19-34 years old. Nearly all of the drugs come from Afghan poppy fields. The plants are processed into opium (which about 71 percent of Iranian addicts smoke), or further processed into heroin (which 23 percent of Iranian addicts smoke or inject). The number of addicts keeps going up, particularly because of the poor economy (caused by corrupt religious conservatives who control the courts and much wealth seized during the 1979 revolution). If current trends continue, there will be nine million addicts in twenty years. Few expect  it to get that bad, feeling that there will be another revolution long before that. And then there is the problem with Afghan drug gangs, whose smuggling activities have turned the Iran-Afghan border into a war zone. 

The US Secretary of Defense predicted, in an interview, that the Islamic conservatives in Iran would be overthrown by a popular rebellion in the near future. This alarmed religious conservatives in Iran, who declared that America was planning to attack Iran.