The deputy commander of the Iranian police, Ayoub Soleimani, has denied the existence of hectares of opium poppy farms in Iran that was revealed by one of President Hassan Rouhani’s ministers.
On January 27, Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammed Azari Jahromi, the youngest member of the cabinet, first broke the news on Twitter, despite the social media platform being officially banned in Iran.
“The Iranian Space Research Center, monitoring the agricultural lands of the country, came across a 70-hectare farm in which opium poppy is being cultivated,” Jahromi wrote on Twitter.
“Again technology served transparency, though some don’t like it.”
On January 31, in response to Jahromi’s tweet, Iran's anti-narcotics police chief, Brigadier Mohammed Massoud Zahedian, denied the report, explaining to ISNA news agency that if the news was accurate “it meant [Iran’s] police is asleep”.
Iran’s communication minister was quick to answer Zahedian and challenged him further.
“The research center’s report about cultivating opium is accurate and in detail. I invited the anti-narcotics police chief to the center to check the details, and he welcomed the invitation,” Jahromi wrote on Twitter.
But now police chief Soleimani has brought forth his own technological explanation for the minister of communications’ poppy field allegation. "The wavelength of the light reflected from opium poppy is similar to the one in wild poppy; therefore the two have been confused with each other”, he claims.