Oxford University scholar Maziyar Ghiabi has a startling piece in Britain's The Conversation website (reprinted in The Independent) asserting that Iran's leaders are considering legalization of cannabis and opium. The Islamic Republic certainly lives up to its rep as a puritanical police state. Ghiabi admits that up to 70% of its inmates are charged with drug-related offenses (out of a total prison population of some 225,000, according to the World Prison Brief website). We've also noted that a recent surge in executions in Iran is contributing to a global spike in use of the death penalty over the past two years. As Ghiabi writes: "Drug traffickers risk harsh punishments that include the death penalty." But he also informs us that Iran is now pursuing the kind of harm reduction policies that actvists have been long pressing for in the US, including "distribution of clean needles to injecting drug users, methadone substitution programmes (also in prisons) and a vast system of addiction treatment."