Iran police kill seven drug smugglers - report

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TEHRAN, Oct 29 (Reuters) Iranian police have killed seven drug smugglers in clashes in a northeastern region close to Afghanistan, the official IRNA news agency reported today.

Seven other bandits were arrested and 135 kg (300 lb) of opium were seized during police operations in the province of Khorassan Razavi, IRNA said, without giving further details.

Iran is a transit route for drugs smuggled from Afghanistan to Western countries and elsewhere. Afghanistan is the world's top producer of the opium poppy, which is the key ingredient for heroin.

Iranian forces often clash with well-armed smugglers of drugs and other contraband. More than 3,300 security personnel have died fighting drug traffickers since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed in June to launch a joint crackdown on drug trafficking.

REUTERS SKB ND1846

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