Iranian police hunting the killers of a local police chief shot dead one bandit and seized 1.5 tonnes of opium in the country's southeast, the official IRNA news agency said on Sunday.
The incident in Kerman province, an area known as a transit route for drugs smuggled from Afghanistan, came just a few days after seven policemen were killed in a shoot-out with unknown gunmen in a western province bordering Iraq.
Iranian forces often clash with well-armed smugglers of drugs and other contraband, especially in eastern regions near Afghanistan and Pakistan, an area dotted with forts, trenches and machinegun posts.
More than 3,300 Iranian security personnel have died fighting drug traffickers since the 1979 Islamic revolution.
'The police commander of the town of Mahan, Mohsen Jafarabadi, was martyred late on Friday in a clash with armed bandits and smugglers,' IRNA quoted a police official as saying, referring to a small town in Kerman.
'One of the bandits and armed smugglers was also killed and two others were arrested after an 18-hour chase,' the official said adding that 1,515 kg of opium was found.
Iran shares a 900 km (560 mile) border with Afghanistan, the world's number one producer of the opium poppy which is the key ingredient for heroin. Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed in June to launch a joint crackdown on drug trafficking.
Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2007, 18:57