$16b worth of goods smuggled into Iran annually: police
About 16 billion dollars worth of goods are smuggled into Iran annually, according to a senior police officer.
"According to a study conducted by the Office of the Campaign against Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Currency, each year about 16 billion dollars worth of goods are smuggled into the country and 3 billion dollars worth of goods are smuggled out of the country," Hassan Batuli said at the National Conference on the Smuggling of Goods, which was held on Sunday in the western city of Sanandaj.
Illicit goods account for 12 billion dollars of the goods which are brought into the country illegally and 4 billion dollars of the goods are items that can be traded legally in Iran, he explained.
About 13.7 billion dollars of the goods are transported into the country through unofficial channels, such as remote bays, illegal docks, mountain passes, and secluded roads, he said.
Only about 2.3 billion dollars of the goods enter the country through legal channels such as free trade zones, customs offices, special industrial and economic zones, and markets in border towns and villages, he stated.
The figures for Iranian calendar year 1388 (March 2009-March 2010) show that the volume of smuggled goods rose by 22 percent compared to the previous year, he said.
He went on to say that the main goods which are smuggled into the country are cell phones, fireworks, satellite receivers, alcoholic drinks, cosmetics, home appliances, medicines, guns, and ammunition.
The main goods which are smuggled out of Iran are diesel oil, ancient artifacts, antiques, livestock, saffron, and some fish products, he added.
Batuli said that the main reasons such a massive amount of goods is smuggled into the country are the widespread unemployment, especially in border areas, the bureaucratic red tape required to obtain import and export permits, the low quality of domestically produced goods, the high tariffs imposed on the importation of some goods, and the fact that some local officials turn a blind eye to the activities of smugglers.