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Commander Says Iran Won't Stop Flow of Drugs To Europe If Sanctions Continue

IRAN -- FILE PHOTO: Authorities burn more than 70,000kg (154000lbs) of drugs confiscated in the past year to mark the United Nations' International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking in northeast Tehran June 26, 2007.

Chief of the Joint Staff of the Iranian armed forces says "Iran will not pay the cost for stopping the flow of drugs to Europe if sanctions continue."

According to Iranian State TV, Mohammad Hossein Baqeri made the remark during a flag raising ceremony in Mashhad in northeastern Iran on Thursday July 11.

The threat has been made several times before by other officials including Iran's current and former police chiefs in an apparent attempt to frighten Europeans and encourage them to persuade the U.S. to reduce its pressure on Iran.

They had also said that as a result of sanctions, the police can no longer pay the cost of stopping illegal immigrants going to Europe.

President Hassan Rouhani had also tried to scare Europeans by saying, "You should try to save the Iranian nuclear deal to keep your own youths safe from narcotic drugs and to prevent the influx of immigrants."

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi had threatened in May that in case pressures on Iran continue, Iran will return Afghan immigrants to their homeland or let them go to other countries.

Araqchi's comment caused a lot of anger among Afghan immigrants in Iran. However, he said: "Europeans should pay their share of the cost of maintaining immigrants in Iran or be prepared to host them in Europe.