Smugglers of fuel, livestock fined $570m

November 16, 2020 - 18:44

TEHRAN – Smugglers of fuel and livestock have been fined 24 trillion rials (about $570 million at the official rate of 42,000 rials) since the beginning of the current [Iranian calendar] year (March 21).

The figure represents a 47 percent increase compared to the same period last [Iranian calendar] year.

Out of a total of about 42,000 smuggling cases, about 28,000 are related to export smuggling, of which 20,000 are related to the smuggling of fuel and petroleum products, mostly to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to a lesser extent to Turkey and Iraq.

A number of these cases are related to livestock trafficking. Most of the cattle are smuggled to Iraq, and then to the Persian Gulf countries.

President Hassan Rouhani has urged a systematic fight against smuggling “from the start to the endpoint”, citing the fight as a key factor in improving Iran’s economy in July 2019.

Rouhani said while Iran is under sanctions, extra care should be given to stopping the smuggling of “hard-won” currency.

Every year, $20-25 billion are smuggled in and out of the country, which, if stopped, will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, Hassan Norouzi, member of the Parliament said.

In the Iranian calendar year 1396 (March 2017- March 2018), $12 billion was smuggled into Iran and $900 million out of the country, according to the Headquarters for Combating the Smuggling of Commodities and Foreign Exchange.

According to some reports, over ten million liters of gasoline are smuggled out of Iran on a daily basis, adding up to 3.65 billion liters every year. Other reports put the number higher. On December 19, 2018, a government spokesman said every day 11.5 million liters of gasoline are smuggled out of Iran. Ali Adyani, a member of the Iranian Parliament's Energy Committee has quoted various sources as putting the figure at 10, 15, and even 20 million liters a day.

Mohammad Hassan Nejad, another member of the committee, says the smuggled fuel amounts to 22 million liters per day. With a 50 cent per liter profit, the total daily income adds up to 400 trillion rials annually or $3.3 billion, nearly the same as the country's annual development budget.

In addition to gasoline smuggling, other fuels such as kerosene and diesel are also smuggled; not in lesser quantities.

Earlier in June, the first phase of the national anti-smuggling plan has been implemented with the priority of customs, tobacco, and transit goods nationwide.

FB/MG

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