Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 7 / Trend F.Mehdi/
Over 564,000 tons of cell phones, valued at around $58 million were imported into Iran during the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year which began on March 20, 2012, showing a 103 per cent growth in value compared to the same period in the previous year, ILNA reported.
Imports rose by 51 per cent in weight, according to the report.
Imports of cell phones accounted for 0.3 per cent of the country's total imports during the nine month period.
Smuggling of cell phones is rampant into Iran due to high customs charges, the dollar price rise and high profits, ISNA quoted Ebrahim Dorosti, the head of the union of Iranian audio and visual products sellers as saying in December 2012.
Smuggled cell phones account for a large share of total imports, he said, adding that Iran has not been successful in producing cell phones due to the lack of modern technology.
On October 24, 2012, the Iranian Customs Administration director Abbas Memarnejad said that smuggling worth some seven trillion rials (about $570 million) had been registered in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year which began on March 20.
"Around 12,000 cases of smuggling have been registered at customs nationwide," he added.
Smuggling is not confined to fuels, he said, adding that it also includes home appliances and foreign currency.
Last year, Memarnejad announced that 20 million cell phones should be annually supplied to the domestic market via imports. However, smuggled cell phones accounted for over 95 per cent of cell phones on the market in the Iranian year 1389 which ended in March 2011.
The irregular importation of some unnecessary goods has damaged the national economy, Anti-Drug Headquarters Secretary General Fada-Hossein Maleki said earlier.
"Imports have increased by 12 percent in weight but declined by 16 percent in value. This issue shows that unnecessary goods have been imported in large scale," he noted.
On October 5, 2012, MP Alireza Monadi-Sepidan told the Fars News Agency that imports should be regulated and illegal imports of up to $30 billion, which have dented the domestic production, should be curbed.
According to General Inspection Organization's director Mostafa Pourmohammadi, the smuggled goods into the country amounted to around $20 billion in the Iranian year which ended in March 2011. The figure declined by $6 billion in the year to March 2012.