EghtesadOnline: Close to 33.15 trillion rials ($245.55 million) worth of contraband goods were confiscated during the five months to Aug. 22, showing a 123% surge compared with the similar period of last year.
Data released by the Statistics and Information General Bureau of the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange showed the above figure.
Automotives ($61.14 million), home appliances ($29.8 million) and alcoholic beverages ($10.97 million) topped the list of contraband confiscated inside the country, according to Financial Tribune.
Other confiscated goods included fabric, foodstuff, auto spare parts, apparel, oil products, rice, livestock, armament and ammunition, cigarettes, cosmetics and toiletries, satellite and computer equipment, antiques, audiovisual equipment, mobile phones, toys, shoes, medical equipment, gold and jewelry, Mehr News Agency reported.
The Islamic Republic of Iran recently gave traders the go-ahead to import gold and jewelry after getting a permit from the Central Bank of Iran and completion of customs formalities and paying import tax.
Fuel topped the list of goods confiscated, which was about to exit the country. Around 37 million liters of fuel worth more than $6.14 million were confiscated during the five-month period, registering a twofold and fivefold increase in weight and value respectively year-on-year.
Nevertheless, it is estimated that 10 million liters of fuel worth $666,000 are smuggled out of Iran every day.
The main reason behind fuel smuggling is the unprecedented decline in the national currency rial against foreign currencies and the low price of gasoline in the country.
Comparing fuel prices in Iran and neighboring countries shows that despite the high risks, smugglers dare to engage in the illicit and dangerous fuel trafficking because they are tempted by the huge profit at the end.
Foodstuff and animal hide ranked second and third in this category respectively.
The total value of smuggled goods during March 2013-17 stood at $25 billion, $19.8 billion, $15 billion, $12-13 billion respectively.
There is no data available on the smuggling rate for the last fiscal year (March 2017-18).
Installing customs and border protection equipment, and using X-ray trucks and sniffer dogs have been among the measures taken to combat smuggling.
A memorandum of understanding was recently signed between the Statistical Center of Iran and the Headquarters to Combat Smuggling of Goods and Foreign Exchange. As per the agreement, the two bodies will cooperate in confidentially exchanging statistics, offering training, holding research courses and carrying out statistical projects.
Moreover, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, has been assigned the task of tackling commodity smuggling in the Persian Gulf by Iran’s Supreme National Security Council since early this year.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has repeatedly called for efforts to combat smuggling and contraband goods as part of plans to stimulate domestic production and combat unemployment.