Tehran, Iran, May 31
By Mehdi Sepahvand - Trend:
Iran has said that a US company facilitated the export of cigarettes to Iran at the time when trade with Iran was restricted under international sanctions.
The company would acquire necessary permissions for cigarette companies so that they could export their products to Iran, Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine, and Trade Mojtaba Khosrowtaj said.
Khosrowtaj who was speaking at a conference on tobacco said that the West tried to facilitate cigarette export to Iran once it realized the import of the product did not make Iran any revenue, ISNA news agency reported May 31.
He said while 28.7 billion cigarettes were produced domestically and 13.6 billion were legally imported to Iran last Iranian calendar year (which ended March 20), 30 percent of the total cigarette imports were illegal.
Of 55 to 65 billion cigarettes were used in Iran last year, about 18 billion were smuggled cigarettes, he explained.
Iranian Tobacco Company on May 26 announced that it will produce 15 billion cigarettes in the current year.
The company's output hit 1.765 billion cigarettes in the first two months of the year, a 53 percent rise year on year.
Last year, the company experienced a sharp fall in output, so that it produced just 9 billion cigarettes.
Follow the author on Twitter: @mehdisepahvand