14 killed during drug trafficking sting in Iran

A 24-hour pursuit of drug traffickers has ended with the death of 14 people - smugglers, security force members and civilians - and the seizure of 1.5 tons of narcotics, Iranian state television reported Wednesday. The report said that four of the dead were traffickers, but it did not explain how civilians came to be killed in the series of shootouts during the operation, which ended on Tuesday in Hana, a town 500 kilometers south of Teheran. Iran straddles a major route for the trafficking of drugs from the opium poppy fields of Afghanistan to Europe. Police regularly confiscate large amounts of drugs, usually opium, and Iran itself has an estimated two million addicts.