Iranian police seize $3b of smuggled goods, currency

March 12, 2021 - 16:58

TEHRAN – Smuggled goods and currency worth 126 trillion rials (nearly $3 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials) have been discovered across the country over the past eleven months, Mohammad Reza Moghimi, the police chief, has announced.

During the aforementioned period, all kinds of smuggled goods, including home appliances, cosmetics, electronic devices, spare parts, food, fuel, livestock were discovered in the country with the specialized measures and round-the-clock efforts of the anti-trafficking police, he stated.

The value of discovered goods and currencies has increased by 84 percent compared to the same period last year, he added.

The discovered goods were handed over to the organization for the collection of smuggled fuel of the National Petrochemical Company, and 103,000 smugglers were arrested and handed over to the judicial authorities, he explained, ISNA reported on Tuesday.

Smugglers fined $570m in 8 months

From the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2020) until November 16, 2020, smugglers of fuel and livestock were fined 24 trillion rials (about $570 million), representing 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 were 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.

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, a member of the parliament, has 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.

Iran, which has a 900-kilometer border with Afghanistan, has been used as the main conduit for smuggling Afghan drugs to narcotics kingpins in Europe.

Despite high economic and human costs, Iran has been actively fighting drug-trafficking over the past decades.

In June 2020, the first phase of the national anti-smuggling plan was implemented with the priority given to customs, tobacco, and transit goods.


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